Sassy Spanish Chicken Stew

I don’t know if you’ve noticed…but it’s still cold outside. At least it is in Pennsylvania, where I spent the weekend. And NYC where, fortunately, my landlord is diligent about heat. So today I revisited a little chicken dish of (I think) my own invention. It’s got a Spanish feel to me, because there’s orange and sherry and paprika involved. I say sherry, but I never actually have any on hand, so I usually end up using a ruby port. Madeira would probably also work.

This dish is pretty easy – there’s enough time between each step to cut the next veggie. I like to serve it with couscous – especially Israeli couscous, if you can find it – though saffron rice would also be a classy side. It is a one-dish wonder. I make this in a 10″ sauteuse, and you could certainly increase the amount of chicken. I like it heavy on the veggies.

Spanish Chicken Stew

  • 4 chicken thighs (skinless, with or without bone)
  • 1/4 flour
  • 2 tsps sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
  • dash cayenne powder
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1/2 cup port, sherry or Madeira
  • juice of 1 medium orange
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 1 1/2 red bell peppers
  • 28 oz. can diced tomatoes


Preheat pan with a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Mix the flour, 1 tsp paprika, onion powder, cayenne, dash of salt & pepper onto a plate. Lightly dredge both sides of the chicken in the flour, and add to the pan. Cook chicken until golden, about 5 minutes, and turn over. Chop onion – quarter inch pieces are good – and add to pan with a tablespoon of butter or more olive oil when chicken is halfway through second side.

Chop the pepper into large chunks (should be roughly 2-3 cups). Cut the garlic cloves into halves or thirds. When onions are translucent and soft, add the peppers and the garlic cloves and the other 1 tsp paprika. Saute for 2 min, then add the port. Cook down for one minute, stirring. Add the orange juice, simmer for 2 min. Add can of tomatoes, salt & pepper to your taste, and simmer over medium low for another 20 minutes (25-30 if chicken is on the bone).

How I screwed up so you don’t have to: Today, actually, I had everything I needed for the dish except the orange. I suggest adding the juice of a lemon. Heck, you could add the lemon in addition to the orange if you really like your food bright and citrusy. Other ways you can play around – add one or two tablespoons of the leftover dredging flour when cooking the onions to thicken the stew. Conversely, you can add half a cup of chicken or vegetable stock with the orange juice. Chicken thighs work much better for this than breasts, which will end up a little overcooked.

Results: It’s warm and satisfying, but still tastes fresh and healthy. And leftovers are pretty fantastic.


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