Pollo al Chilindrón
Pollo Chilindron or Chicken with Red Peppers comes from Navarra in the north of Spain but it is a dish which you will find being served all over the country. It is often one of the main courses in a Menu del Dia (menu of the day). This dish can be as mild or as spicy as you want. If you prefer it to be mild use sweet paprika and if you prefer it hot use spicy paprika. Many Spanish dishes use a lot of oil but if you are cooking everything in one pan you should find that you can use less oil than I have suggested.
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1.5kg chicken pieces with bone or 1kg of boneless chicken – I like to use the thigh or the leg as these have the most flavour but you can use chicken breast if you prefer
- 3-4 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1 onion chopped
- 75g serrano ham diced
- 2-3 red peppers sliced into 1.5cm wide strips
- 450g tomatoes peeled, seeded and chopped (or use a 400g can of chopped tomatoes)
- 2 teaspoons of paprika
- 1 dried hot chilli (guindilla) or 1 fresh chilli
- 1 bay leaf
- freshly ground black pepper
- chopped fresh parsley or coriander to garnish
Heat the oil in a large, heavy based frying pan or casserole that has a lid and fry the chicken pieces on a medium heat for about 5 minutes to brown them. Remove the chicken, or push it to one side of the pan, add the garlic and onion and gently fry for about 5 minutes.
Add the ham and peppers to the frying pan and continue to fry for another 5 minutes until the peppers soften a little. Then stir everything in the pan together.
HINT: The first time I cooked this dish I was worried that I had left the peppers too big but it wasn’t a problem as they shrink and break up during cooking.
The tomatoes should be skinned and seeded but I find seeding tomatoes a drag. I am very much a believer in trying to make recipes as simple as possible. You can peel and seed them if you want to or be like me and only peel them or alternatively use a 400g tin of chopped tomatoes.
HINT: To make peeling the tomatoes easier cut the skin and place them in boiling water for about 1 minute. They should then peel without too much trouble.
Stir in the chopped tomatoes, the chopped chilli, the paprika, the bay leaf, a little salt and pepper and add the chicken if you previously removed it, put the lid on the casserole or pan and simmer over a low heat for about 1½ hours when the chicken should be lovely and tender. Quite a lot of juice comes out of both the tomatoes and the red peppers so it is a good idea to remove the lid towards the end of cooking to allow the sauce to reduce.
Add salt and pepper to your taste and remove the bay leaf.