Last night I decided to try something different from my usual style of cooking and tried out this recipe with a few adjustments. Let me start off by saying I wasn’t in love with it and I’ll definitely try a few things differently next time, but it wasn’t bad and I have to consider the original recipe is probably better than my adjustments. First of all, I couldn’t find pecorino, so I had to use parmasean. That is probably what effected the flavor most. I read the comments on this recipe and saw a lot of complaints about bitterness and too much lemon, so I used the zest of one lemon and the juice of two. I also used four grated garlic cloves rather than 12 whole, and used two large tomatoes that I didn’t measure, but it was probably more than a cup. The results weren’t entirely what I had hoped for, but after tasting, I knew what was missing and will give you tips at the end for adjustments that I plan to incorporate next time. A word of wisdom: Do all of your prep work before starting. I was cutting vegetables while the chicken was frying in an effort to streamline everything, but ended up with a chaotic mess. Next time, I’ll DEFINITELY do all of my prep in advance. So, without further ado, I give you the recipe and instructions!
- 2-3 lbs chicken (I used drumsticks only)
- 1/2cup flour
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1/4cup olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 medium lemons
- 1 large yellow onion, sliced
- 1large fennel bulb, halved and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3/4 cups spanish olives
- 1 pinch ground cinnamon
- 2 large tomatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 cup white wine
Start off by prepping all of your veggies. Slice those onions and fennel and sit them aside in a bowl. Blanch those tomatoes and shock them in an ice bath to make them easier to peel, then roughly chop them. When you’re all prepped and ready, mix your flour, parmesan, and one teaspoon of paprika in a bowl.
Season your drumsticks generously with salt and pepper and coat them in the flour mixture.
Add olive oil to a oven safe skillet or dutch oven and cook on med-high heat until the drumsticks crisp up, about 5 min or so on each side. Add them a few at a time and don’t crowd them too much in the pan. Sit them aside on a plate when they’re nice and brown.
When you’re done with the chicken, add the fennel, onions and garlic to the pan and cook until soft. (This dish was lacking a bit of heat for me, so I think next time I’ll add crushed red pepper as well.)
Next add your tomatoes, lemon, olives and 2 tsp. paprika, and cook and smoosh the tomatoes until everything is nice and soft. At this point go ahead and give it a little taste and add salt to taste. Add some of your leftover flour mixture to the pan and a cup of white wine. Stir that baby til it thickens up a bit and looks like scrumptious saucy goodness.
When your sauce is looking good, add the chicken back to the pan and bake in the oven at 425° for 30 min.
Pull it out and enjoy! Serve with a veggie and starch. I think it would be great with rice, but I really wanted mashed potatoes, so I served mine with mashed potatoes and a side salad with some of the fennel leaves and homemade croutons.
Now for a few thoughts and tips about this recipe. This chicken is suppose to stay crispy when baking it with the sauce, but I found that it wasn’t true for me. If you want crispy chicken, I recommend finishing it in the oven separately and simply cooking your sauce in another pan. (It won’t have to go in the oven, just the chicken.) You can pour the sauce over the chicken just before serving and it will maintain it’s crisp. The olives were a little weird for me, to be honest. I liked them, but they didn’t seem to mesh with the flavors well, so perhaps I’ll try a different olive next time or omit it and add green peppers. This dish was also lacking a bit of heat, which is surprising coming from me because I don’t really eat spicy food. I probably would add some crushed red pepper in with the fennel and onions, or jalapeno if you like a little more kick.
So, there you have it. A Spanish inspired chicken with some tips and suggestions for how to make yours even better than mine. Let me know if you try it and made adjustments. I’d love to know what works best for you guys! For a vegetarian version, I think it would be tasty with eggplant or portabella mushrooms served over rice. Let me know if you try it!