Basque-Style Chicken

Here is one of my favorite French stews: Basque-Style Chicken. While some versions call on stewing the ingredients together, this version has you add the roasted red peppers and the prosciutto toward the end of the recipe. That way, they stay fresh and vivid, and make for a more striking, colorful, and up-to-date version of the dish.

From The Bonne Femme Cookbok by Wini Moranville

Basque-Style Chicken

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    8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
    salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 1 14.5-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and pured in a food processor
    3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
    1 medium-sized onion, halved and sliced 1/2 teaspoon teaspoon piment d'Espelette or 1/2 teaspoon Spanish paprika and 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    6 garlic cloves, minced 1 7-ounce jar roasted red bell peppers, drained and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
    1/2 cup sweet vermouth 1/4 cup diced prosciutto or jambon de Bayonne (about 1 ounce)


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    • 1

      Snip away and discard any excess skin from the chicken thighs. Season the thighs with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or braiser over medium-high heat until it shimmers; add the chicken and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 10 to 15 minutes (reduce the heat to medium if the chicken browns too quickly). Transfer the chicken to a plate. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan.

    • 2

      Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion. Cook, stirring, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes; add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds more. Remove the pan from the heat and add the vermouth and chicken broth, taking care not to let the liquid spatter. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring to loosen any browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, and add the puréed tomatoes, thyme, and piment d’Espelette. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat. Cover and simmer until the internal temperature of the chicken registers 180°F on an instant-read thermometer, 30 to 35 minutes. Add the sliced roasted red peppers about 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time.

    • 3

      Meanwhile, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet until it shimmers. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring, until crisp, 1 to 2 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the prosciutto from the pan and drain on paper towels.

    • 4

      With a slotted spoon, divide the chicken and peppers among four shallow bowls. Boil the pan sauce over medium-high heat to the desired consistency. Top the chicken with the sauce, sprinkle with the crisped prosciutto, and serve.

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