I found this recipe on sausagelinks.co.uk, but their site has been up and down more often than a gigolo’s y-fronts lately, so I thought I’d reproduce it here with my comments and embellishments.
- 8 chicken thighs, skin removed. You could use a half and half mix of thighs and breasts, if you prefer, particularly if your spouse is squeamish about the fat content of thighs compared to breasts. Mind you, the fat content of the thighs is somewhat academic once you get to the next item on the ingredients list….
- 500g fresh, hot chorizo. Look, you need to get this right. This isn’t that horrible dried stuff that they sell thinly sliced in your local supermarket in thin plastic packets. Nor is it the long dried stuff that looks like a red meat horseshoe and has about the same consistency. This is the fresh stuff, which you will find in the fridge at your best local deli, labelled as chorizo picante or “cooking chorizo (spicy)”. And you want the spicy, not the mild, unless you are a total wuss who likes tasteless food. In London, try Brindisa. In Lewes, my good friends David and Eleanor at Say Cheese do a good version, although it is a bit fattier than the Brindisa variety. Cut the chorizo into lengths of about 25-30mm (about an inch or so).
- 2 or 3 slices of smoked bacon, rind removed and finely diced.
- half a bottle of good red wine, maybe a little more. This leaves the other half of the bottle (maybe a little less) for the chef to enjoy. Now you see why I like this recipe.
- 2 onions, finely diced.
- 2 carrots (quite large), finely diced. On the carrot and the onion, take time to make sure that they really are finely diced. Your reward will await you in the next world. If you leave them coarsely chopped, then your punishment will be upon you in this life. Trust me.
- 250g of shallots, peeled but otherwise whole. I think you can increase this quantity a little, if you like. You certainly want 250g peeled weight, not 250g before peeling. And be sure to use the round variety, not eschallion/banana shallots.
- 1 small tin of tomato purée (the supermarkets can’t seem to agree a standard on this – the tins vary between 125g and 150g).
- 1 tin of chopped tomatoes (400g) or thereabouts.
- pinch each of dry thyme and oregano (or a little more each of the fresh variety, if you have it in your garden).
- paprika (if you were silly, and didn’t get good quality chorizo).
- oil for frying.
- Put on an apron. What do you mean, that’s only for wusses? Well, take a look at the ingredient list again. Yes, stains from end to end. So, apron on, unless you like stains and think that they improve your rating as a real bona fide chef (to which you can add cuts and burns, I guess).
- Pre-heat the oven to about 150 Celsius. That’s gas mark somewhere-in-the-middle.
- Use a large casserole dish with a snug-fitting lid. Over a medium heat, sweat the chopped onions and carrots in a little oil for a few minutes before adding the chopped bacon. Scoot about the pan for four or five minutes until all nicely softened and perhaps a little browned. Remove from the pan and keep warm.
- Turn up the heat and replenish the oil in the pan. Brown the chicken and chorizo (and I mean brown it, don’t just show it the heat). Do this in batches so that the pan is never chock full.
- Return all the meat to the pan, along with the onion/carrot/bacon mixture. Add the half bottle of wine and simmer vigorously for a minute or two.
- Add the shallots, the herbs, the tinned tomatoes and tomato purée. Simmer for another minute or two, stirring so that it all gets mixed together.
- Taste. It shouldn’t need much seasoning, but this is where you might add your paprika.
- Bung on the tight-fitting lid and throw the whole thing into the oven. Retire to the comfort of your armchair for at least one and a half hours, preferably two hours. The longer you give it, the better.
- Whilst in your armchair, instruct your minions to prepare some good buttery mash and some green beans or some other nice green vegetable. Alternatively, get them to prepare some good quality rice.
- Check it. Does the chicken fall away from the bone easily? Are the shallots turning soft? Then it is done.
Well, you should be nicely warmed up by the time your dinner guests arrive as you will have dealt with the unpleasantness of the left-over half bottle of red. So, I recommend that you continue in a red theme, perhaps with a good tempranillo. Alternatively, try a strong flavoured Belgian beer. Or gin. Whatever is at hand, really.