A SURFEIT OF TOMATOES AND BABY BELLES

It is that wonderful time of year, when the garden is still producing tomatoes and peppers, but the evenings are cool enough to make indoor cooking enjoyable again.

Blessed with an abundance of delicious Carmello tomatoes and a basket of colorful mini bell peppers, my thoughts turn to Basque Chicken, a satisfying fusion of French technique with Spanish flavors. The tomatoes and peppers melt into a delicious sauce accented by the smoky Spanish paprika.

I serve this with rice and a simple salad, paired with a Rioja such as Marques de Riscal, which I find at my local Trader Joe’s.

Poulet Basquaise (Basque Chicken)

2 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces pancetta or serrano ham, cut in 1/4 inch dice
1 3 to 4 pound chicken, cut into serving pieces
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 large onion, chopped
3 cups of chopped bell peppers, any color but green (quartered mini bells are perfect)
6 large cloves garlic, sliced
2 cups chopped tomatoes (can use one 15-ounce can diced tomatoes)
3 teaspoons Spanish (smoked) paprika, divided use
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup chopped parsley

1.    Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add pancetta and sauté until browned.  Remove from pan and set aside.
2.      Sprinkle chicken pieces liberally with salt and pepper.  Brown chicken in same pan until golden, about 5 minutes per side.  Work in batches so as to not crowd the pan.  Remove and set aside with pancetta.
3.    Add onions, peppers, and garlic to pan, and sauté over medium heat until peppers are soft.  Add tomatoes (with their juice), wine, 2 teaspoons paprika and red pepper flakes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add back the chicken and the pancetta, then cover and cook over low heat for 20 minutes. The sauce should taste rich and melded.  Adjust seasoning with salt and freshly ground pepper, if desired.
4.    Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon paprika over the chicken pieces.  Garnish with the chopped parsley.

Music in the kitchen – Groove Armada, Just for Tonight

BTW, my favorite Spanish paprika is Chiquilin Bittersweet Paprika, which is widely available in stores and online.Find this recipe, and hundreds more, at foodiekitchen.com

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