Here is my recipe for Spanish Chicken – this is not an underhand reference to some gorgeous youth but a really very tasty recipe.
Chicken thigh fillets – 2 per person if they’re a reasonable size
Potatoes – maris piper or King Eddies work nicely
Red and Yellow peppers – one or two per person
An aubergine – does nicely for two (although I know a few who like to hog the whole thing for themselves….)
Couple of medium sized red onions OR a handful of shallots
A 200g chorizo sausage
Olive oil, sea salt, freshly milled black pepper, as much or as little garlic and either fresh green chilli or dried chilli flakes as you like, couple of lemons and maybe a lime and some paprika (- I used smoked paprika )
OK so here goes……
Boil a kettle full of water.
Take some potatoes (the amount depending on how many you’re feeding but 8 seemed to be more than enough for two folks……..) and peel casually – no need for perfection as I rather like the slightly earthier taste you get by leaving small areas with skin remaining but this really is down to personal taste. Chop spud into pieces about the same size as a medium-size tub of Vaseline. By now your kettle should have boiled so you’ve made a bit of a start on the process of par-boiling the spuds which should take about 15 mins.
While that’s happening, peel your onions which, if red and medium size, will need quartering. Leave the root intact so your quarters don’t fall apart (and for God’s sake if there are any Australians around, this root has nothing to do with your husband or toyboy). Frankly, slightly easier with shallots which can be left whole but , they are also smaller and fiddlier to peel so you choose. Plop these into your potatoes for the last 5-10 mins of cooking just to soften a bit.
Although everyone says salt your aubergine, you can if you want but I challenge anyone to taste the difference once the thing has been roasted at nearly 200 degrees centigrade for something over an hour – I’d like to see flubbalump Fanny retain any water after that . So, do it if you like, but probably not worth it. Instead, just slice lengthways into halves and then again into quarters (I did it again into eighths but there’ll be just too many “people whose first language is not English” reading this who won’t be able to say that so let’s just keep it simple). I then slice them again across, in the middle. (So, your quarter lengths then give you 8 pieces – or in my case, 16)
Likewise, chop up your peppers into strips (get 6 to 8 out of each pepper, depending on size) - chop out the green stem and get rid of little seeds first – duh!
Now get your chorizo and slice it up (think of WHATEEEEVVVVER you like while you do it..) into bits about one cm wide…..
Finally, before the assemblage at any rate, take around 30-50ml olive oil and squeeze your lemons, tipping the juice into the olive oil and then add your chillies (either sliced, if fresh, or some flakes, if dried), squish the garlic from your crusher straight into the oil/juice, then add good couple of pinches of sea salt, couple of shakes of paprika and black pepper. Stir this lot altogether with a fork.
Now wrap each piece of chicken round a red/yellow pepper slice (the veggie in the middle helps keep it moist plus having the chicken in a sort of cylinder rather than just flat also helps it from drying out too much. Place your chicken pieces into your roasting dish then basically cram your (hot!) potatoes, onion quarters/shallots (whichever), rest of the pepper slices, aubergines and chorizo slices in together – arranging reasonably artistically so you get colour variations although you can adjust this half way through cooking.
Pour your oil/juice melange evenly all over then slide the whole thing into you fan-assisted oven at around 190. You’ll know your own oven, ours isn’t great as it tends to burn things on top but even if you’ve got an Aga (really???!!!) you’ll definitely want to look at it after about half an hour and tumble everything about a bit so that if things are getting a bit brown/black on top, you can bring some of the components from below which are not getting so much heat at this stage, up to the surface. However, you really shouldn’t mind any nice crispy brown/black edges as this adds to the look and taste, trust me. After a total of an hour, I like to be a touch braver with those brown edges so I leave it maybe an hour and ten mins…. you should take the roasting dish out and you will find this gorgeous sizzling one-pot dinner, with the spuds just starting to roast, the aubergine gooey with some charred edges, some nice tender peppers (also nice dark edges)and your chicken cooked but still juicy enough.
The whole thing will be immensely spicy (if you do it like me), soft but crunchy and oozing with red-paprika-stained olive oil and chorizo which will also have some soft and some crispy bits. Satisfying and cheering, just what you want during a British winter and when you’ve got Fanny as a dining companion.