RECIPE: Basque Chicken (30 minutes!)

Leftovers.

I find that I’m always too busy eating tasty things to take good photos of them. Oops.

I was thumbing through one of my Pinterest boards for dinner ideas the other night when I found a couple of recipes for Basque chicken with saffron rice. They all claimed to take less than 30 minutes, which was music to my ears. I ended up using this one and this one for inspiration. I’m not a fan of warm olives, but I had artichoke hearts on hand. Prosciutto and capers are probably tasty additions, but we didn’t already have them and they’re kind of pricey. I didn’t add any salt, but the saltiness was perfect, so I think skipping them is a safe bet, if you’re so inclined. I ended up using:

  • Chipotle olive oil
  • 1 medium vidalia onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into little tenders
  • About a teaspoon of black pepper (you should know by now that I don’t measure unless I’m baking)
  • At least a teaspoon of smoked paprika
  • Two 14 oz. cans of diced tomatoes from Costco, with juice
  • One 4 oz. can of diced green chiles, with juice
  • One 14 oz. can of artichoke hearts from Trader Joe’s, drained
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • One 8 oz. bag of yellow saffron rice

Follow the directions on your prepackaged saffron rice. (For mine, it was: Boil 2 cups water, add 2 tbsp butter, add rice, boil 1 minute, turn to simmer for 25 minutes.)

While the rice was cooking, I made the chicken. I diced the onion and minced the garlic while the chipotle olive oil heated up, then gently sauteed them (having inhaled spicy fumes while cooking one too many times) while I butterflied the chicken breast and then cut it into little strips (about 1″ by 3″). When the onions were sufficiently translucent, I moved everything to one side of the pan. I shook black pepper and smoked paprika straight into a flat container, mixed them, and put the chicken strips in one at a time, flipping them to cover both sides in the spices. After each was coated, I put it into the empty side of the pan, with the heat on a low-medium. I let both sides of each chicken strip turn mostly white (the meat, not the spices) before pouring the tomatoes and chiles on top. I kept the heat on medium while I sliced up the artichoke hearts, then added them, covered, and turned the heat to a lower setting that would give me a gentle bubbling under the lid, so some of the water would cook off. I kept the chicken submerged under the veggies for this part.

When the rice was ready, I fluffed it and then gave the chicken pan a final stir. We used bowls and put the rice in first and the chicken and veggies on top. The chicken was tender enough that we used spoons to eat it (from bed, watching Scrubs). Even with the chipotle oil, it wasn’t very spicy, so if you really want a kick in it, you’ll probably need to add red pepper flakes or something of the like. The artichoke hearts were the perfect olive substitute, IMHO. I had been a little skeptical about chicken in red sauce, but it was so good, I kept going back for more of the veggies! (And given my love of saffron rice on its own, that’s saying something.)

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