Basque Chicken

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The French do not only tend to eat local produce’ but they also tend to eat regional produce and therefore regional dishes are much more prominent than in the UK.

For example while on holiday in the Dordogne, I discovered that most of the dishes on the menu in restaurants where based on regional produce such as duck and duck products (pate and foisgras). Whilst while staying in Brittany, there was an abundance ofcreperies (and little all else.)

France shares borders with 6 other countries, and the closer you get to these borders,the more the French cuisine is influenced by that of its neighbours.
For example the windows of the bakeries of Provence close to the Italian border, will be brimming with ‘Pissaladire’, a close cousin of the pizza. Sauerkraut, will be readily served up in the east, where many towns have changed hands between France and Germany on several occasions over the last couple of centuries.

The Basque region which straddles France and Spain, has its own distinctive flavour, with colourful spicy dishes that reflect the hot colourful temperament of this region with its own distinctive ref and yellow flag.

(serves 4)

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (you can use 4 breasts, but thigh meat has a slightly stronger flavour.)

1 large of each red, orange and yellow pepper (or 4 small – if you cannot find orange peppers use 2 red and 2 yellow) sliced into slim batons.

1 medium red onion sliced into rings

2 cloves of garlic crushed

1 fresh green chili finely sliced into rings

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

125ml of white wine

pinch of cayenne pepper

pinch of sugar

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

A good glug of olive oil


Heat the oil in a large frying pan with a lid

Brown the chicken thighs on all sides and set aside

Add the peppers and onion to the pan and sauté for around 10 minutes until softened, but taking care not to burn

Stir in the chilli and garlic and cook for 1 minute further

Add the cayenne pepper

Pour over the white wine and simmer for 3-5 minutes until most of the liquid has reduced

Stir in the tomatoes and sugar and season to taste with salt and pepper

Return the chicken to the pan, reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender.

I usually serve this with steamed new potatoes, drained and sautéed in butter with freshly ground sea salt and rosemary, followed by a fresh green salad, but this dish goes equally well with rice.

Can’t you just taste the sunshine and the passion of the region!

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