Recipe: Catalan Chicken with Patatas Bravas

Now the Mediterranean weather is very much upon us, I have the perfect Spanish recipe for a warm summer night.  This one is my new favourite.  It goes nicely with a jug of Sangria and some olive bread.

Catalan Chicken and Patatas Bravas are two things that seemed destined to go well together.  We are talking roasted chicken and potatoes in a rich tomato sauce.  What could be simpler? 

You need the following:

  • Four chicken thighs, legs or two chicken breasts, depending on how many you are serving. (As an option you can also include flour, one egg, breadcrumbs and chicken seasoning to Southern Fry your chicken).
  • Four large potatoes
  • Two tins of tomatoes
  • One red onion
  • Two cloves of garlic
  • 125 ml of Spanish red (plus another 125 ml to drink while you are cooking)
  • Tomato puree
  • Some thinly sliced Chorizo sausage

For the vegetables you need:

  • Red peppers, courgettes and Aubergines or whatever you like. 
  1. To start, preheat your oven at 200 C.
  2. Place your chicken thighs and legs in a deep baking tray, coated in a little oil and seasoning, and cook for 30 minutes or until the core of the chicken has reached at least 75 C.  Also, check the centre for pinkness or blood.
  3. After the chicken has cooked for about 20 minutes, you can start on your potatoes.  Peel them and chop them into the size of small roast potatoes.  Boil them in a pan of lightly salted water until they are soft inside but are still holding their shape.  This should take about five minutes.  When they are soft, drain the water through a colander and shake them in a circular motion.  Leave them to cool for a minute.
  4. By the time the chicken is cooked, check they are cooked through to the middle.  If so, set them aside on a plate.  Drain a little of the chicken stock remaining in the tray, into a small dish and set aside.  Place the potatoes in the baking tray that the chicken has just vacated and give it a little shake side-to-side.  Shake a little oil and seasoning over them and place them in the oven at 200 c and allow them to cook for 20 minutes or until they are brown.
  5. If you wish to southern fry your chicken, now is the time.  Switch your fryer on full.  Take three bowls and a pair of kitchen tongs.  In the first bowl, place two teacups of flour.  In the second, place one beaten egg and half a cup of water, mixed well.  In the third one, place a 50-50 mix of bread crumbs and southern fried chicken seasoning, available for any foreign food section of your supermarket.  Once your oil is hot, take your tongs and pick up the first piece of chicken.  Roll it around, firstly in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs and seasoning, making sure it is well coated.  Set it aside on a plate, and repeat the process with the rest of the chicken.  Then deep fry all the chicken for thirty seconds to a minute, making sure the surface goes golden brown. Anyway, that is optional.  For a truly Catalan flavour, add powdered Almonds to your chicken seasoning mix
  6. Moving on, peel and slice the onion and garlic.  Take a hot, deep pan, the same one you used for the Paella, and place it on a medium heat with a splash of oil.  Fry the onions and garlic until they are golden brown.  Add your chorizo now.  Add the remaining chicken stock and 125 ml of thick red wine.  Continue to fry for a minute then add the two tins of tomatoes and a tablespoon of puree.  Now reduce the heat and cook the tomato mix slowly.
  7. By now your potatoes should be nice and brown.  Remove them from the baking tray and pour them into the tomato mix, around the edges of the pan.  Use the tongs to place them if you prefer.
  8. Add the chicken to the middle of the pan.  Make sure the chicken and potatoes and nicely coated in tomato sauce.  Reduce the oven heat to 180 c.  Cover the pan in tin foil and place in the oven for a further fifteen minutes.

Now, for the vegetables, as a side dish.

  1. Slice and core the peppers, slice the courgettes, and/or the aubergines.  Some just use peppers, either diced or just cut in big chunks out of the side.  Place them in an oven proof dish or pan.  Cover with a little oil and seasonings.  Place them, uncovered, in the oven for about fifteen minutes.
  2. To set the table, place knives, forks, spoons, one bread board to serve as a pan stand and even bread if you like.  This dish goes nicely with olive bread, as I've just found out.

After twenty minutes the vegetables should be softer and the tomato sauce should be bubbling away nicely.

Using a very thick, dry, kitchen cloth, take your pan of Catalan Chicken and Patatas Bravas and place them on the pan stand on the dining table.  Offer around the bread and serve up with a big serving spoon.

And that rounds off our month of Spanish food.  It has been quite a challenge for me, and in doing so I have learned some amazing new recipes to pass on. 

Muchas Gracias!

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.



Recipe: Sangria

If there is any one drink I could sip until the sun sets it is Sangria.  It is very easy to drink and has been the culprit of many a lost afternoon.  And most of the evening.

Basically it is thick red wine and orange juice.  I asked a Spanish bartender friend which oranges are best to use for Sangria.  Seville oranges maybe?  He just rolled his eyes at me and produced a bottle of orange Fanta.

Right, ok, then..

So, we need the following:

  • One deep punch bowl and cling film to cover.
  • White Spirit, such as Gin or Tequila  100 ml
  • 500 ml of thick Spanish Red.  Rioja or similar.
  • 500 ml of Orange Fanta
  • The juice of two Seville oranges. (I don't care what anybody says)
  • One more orange, sliced
  • One lemon, cut into wedges
  • Two tablespoons of brown sugar

Add all of the above to the punch bowl, an stir in.  Cover with cling film and leave to sit in a fridge for an hour.  Then serve it up when your Paella is ready.

Chin, chin is Spanish for Cheers.

Apparently. Take a look at all the Spanish recipes here.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.



Recipe: Tapas (Spanish month)

Well, since the summer has finally decided to put in an appearance I think it is time we turned to some more Mediterranean cuisine.  This time, we venture to the Iberian peninsula.

Spain has one of the oldest and most varied culinary traditions in Europe.  This is largely a result of its various occupations down the centuries. The Roman occupation introduced them to olives and new breads, the Moors of North Africa brought almonds, oranges and spices. Later, trade with South America introduced them to potatoes, tomatoes and corn.

Back in the day, the Hispanic peoples loved their wine, and often spent their days completely sloshed.  And so set a pattern of behaviour familiar to young British tourists today.

But it was not long before the Spanish realised that moderation was better than outright banning it.  King Alfonso wisely decided that if people ate a little, and drank a little, and repeated, then they caused a lot less trouble.  It was a simple idea that has been repeated in Britain in recent years, with frustratingly little success.  Nonetheless, Tapas bars are hugely popular in Spain.  They encounter very little trouble and have a surprisingly young drinking age.

So Tapas, is basically little bits of everything on a plate.  It can consist of cold cuts of meat, cheese, nuts, olives, fish or fruit.  For this first plate we are going with the meaty version.  Better known as the Embutidos.

On this board, for two, we have small slices of Serrano ham, goats cheese, green olives, chorizo, and (the yummiest of the yummy) Choricitos.  These are small chorizo sausages and they taste amazing.

I served them up with a little bread and butter. The whole board should be served with a bottle of thick, rich Spanish Wine, such as Rioja.  Alternative drinking options would include freshly squeezed orange juice.  Or, best of all, Sangria.  But we will come to that later.

The best place to find your various bits would be Lidl.  Yes, the small, cheap supermarket and stop judging.  They have an amazing range of imported foods direct from Spain.  At the minute they are selling whole hams on a serving board, which cost about £40. Also they do massive Chorizo sausages of decent quality and various wines.  Go give it a try, go on.

Next week we move on to the big one, Paella!

Later, kids.

Words & photos by chef Nick Gilmartin who can be contacted on @Nick1975 or find out more here.