Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Basque Chicken with Peppers and Onions

The Basque Country is the European national home to Basque people in the western Pyrenees that spans the border between France and Spain on the Atlantic coast.  It comprises the autonomous communities of the Basque Country in Spain and the Northern Basque country in France.

Traditional Basque cuisine is mainly home and family cooking, passed on from one generation of women to another. Men, however, tend to do the majority of cooking outside the home, professionally or in gastronomic societies.

Basque favorites include beef (preferably of young animals), sheep and lamb, pork, and fowl (chicken, quail, partridge, and woodcock). A common Basque sausage, chorizo, is made from meat and pork fat, seasoned with paprika, salt, and garlic. It is then stuffed into casings and dried. It can later be fried or cooked. Hams are cured, care being taken to avoid too much salt. French Basques take pride in their confit d’oie, or goose fried in its own fat.

The Basque Country’s significant diversity in climate and terrain has resulted in a great variety of available vegetables and fruits. Peppers are very popular and are widely grown. Used green, ripe, and dried, they are a key ingredient in many dishes. Garlic is another Basque favorite, as it is in our home, prized in cooking not only for its taste, but for its ability to trap oils in meats and gravies, which enhances the overall flavor tremendously. We always add a little bit more Garlic to our recipes. 

The most popular methods of vegetable preparation are 1) stews, such as leek stew (porrusalda) or bean stew (cocido) and 2) soups, such as vegetable soup (menestra)--a springtime delicacy--or garlic soup.

Today’s featured recipe has a wonderful, garden fresh flavor which further is enhanced by the addition of Canadian Bacon to our recipe. 

From our kitchen to yours.  Enjoy the adventure


Basque Chicken with Peppers and Onions
1 pound Chicken Breast, uncooked, boneless and skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces.

2 medium Onions, sliced. We used Red Onions

1 medium Sweet Red Pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

1 medium Yellow Pepper, seeded and cut into thin strips

4 cloves Garlic, fresh, minced

¼ tsp dried Red Pepper flakes

½ cup Wine, white. We used Champagne

14 ½ oz canned diced Tomatoes, drained

1 tsp dried Thyme

4 slices Canadian Bacon, cooked (micro-waved for 25 seconds), diced

1/8 tsp Salt, or to taste

1/8 tsp Black Pepper, freshly ground, or to taste

2 cups Rice, cooked, brown or white rice

1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped for garnish


Coat a large pot or Dutch Oven with cooking spray. Cook Chicken over medium-high heat until no longer pink in the center, about 4 – 5 minutes. Remove from pot and set aside.

Reduce heat to medium. Add Onions and Peppers; cook until tender, about 5 – 7 minutes, stirring frequently.  If needed, add a couple of ounces of water to the pot to keep the Onions from burning.  This also helps to deglaze the pot and add flavor to the vegetables.

Add Garlic and Red Pepper flakes and cook 1 minute more.

Add Wine, Tomatoes, Thyme, Bacon and Chicken. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer until Chicken is cooked through, about 5 minutes.  Season to taste with Salt and Black Pepper.  Serve over Rice. Garnish with Parsley.

Yields 4 servings, including ½ cup Rice per serving.  PointsPlus value per serving, including Rice is 9.  Prep time is about 25 minutes. Cooking time is about 20 minutes. Level of difficulty is Moderate.

Weight Watchers and PointsPlus are registered trademarks of Weight Watchers Intl. Inc.

Recipes shown may not be exactly the same as those found on any website. Judy and I tend to "tweak" each recipe we feature, to some degree, incorporating our own unique tastes and ideas. PointsPlus values, however, are accurate. 

Photo by Barry Baruh

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