Sunday, February 11, 2018

Rioja Chicken

My beautiful friend Bernadette gave me an absolute stunner of a cookbook for my birthday, ABC's Delicious - Love To Eat, and I think I have already read it from front to back a couple of times now.  It's a book covering several cuisines from around the world.  The book's layout is clear and pictures of each dish are enticing and well taken.

I have to be honest, as you can all probably imagine, I am addicted to actual cookbooks.  While the internet makes it very easy to find a recipe, explore new opportunities and pinpoint certain ingredients or cuisines there is nothing like sitting down and flicking through a cookbook - reading the instructions and drooling at the pictures.  I have a bookshelf full of cookbooks - I'm talking about 200+ as I just love them.

Another this I also enjoy is sitting down to a Sunday Roast dinner.  The Sunday Roast is a big thing for me as it's a time when all the family are together.  We are normally all home either relaxing (maybe even recovering from a big weekend) or getting prepared for the new week ahead but we are together.  That's always been very important to me.  It's also something that my parents ensured happened every week extending their hospitality to my aunties and uncles, along with their many friends.  I remember Sunday afternoons with 20 or more people at the table as my father loved being surrounded by people and it was always a case of the more the merrier in the Davies household.

While flicking through the new cookbook I stopped immediately when I cam across this recipe for Rioja Chicken. Rioja (pronounced Ree-OH-hah) is a Spanish style Roast Chicken.  The picture looked amazing and as soon as I read the recipe I knew that was what we were having for our Sunday Roast.  While I knew it wasn't going to be a traditional roast it sounded delicious and my eyes were just fixed on the picture.

A combination of smokey chorizo, garlic, red wine and chillies made this an exotic but well balanced flavour sauce and the chicken was melt in your mouth.  Cooking it covered for 1 hour definitely sealed in the juices along with the flavours.  The sauce was thick and very rich but not overpowering.

I managed to find a bottle of Rioja in Liquourland, which I was surprised about,  If you love the structure of Cabernet Sauvignon but the fruitiness of Grenache then you'll love Rioja .  It's made from Trempanillo grapes, popular here in Australia but originating in Spain.  If you cannot find Rioja then substitute it for what red wine you have.

Served with some roasted hassleback potatoes and steamed vegetables this Spanish take on a roast chicken was perfect.

Rioja Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Delicious - Love To Eat Cookbook)

Serves: 8
SmartPoints per Serve: 14

2.2 kilogram whole chicken
freshly ground black pepper
2 onions, sliced
2 tablespoons crushed garlic
300 grams chorizo, casings removed and chopped finely
4 cups chicken stock
2 cups Rioja or other red wine
2 x 400 grams cans diced tomatoes
2 teaspoons brown sugar
4 bay leaves
4 small dried chillies
1 x 400 gram can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Ensure chicken is rinsed thoroughly and pat dry with kitchen towel. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray a heavy based casserole dish or oven safe frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until softened and golden (not browned). Add chorizo and cook, stirring occasionally for 3-4 minutes or until starting to crisp.

Add stock, wine, tomatoes, brown sugar, bay leaves and chilli. Stir to combine.

Place the chicken, breast side up, on top of the sauce mixture. Cover with a lid or foil and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour 15 minutes then carefully remove from oven. Remove lid or foil and brush chicken with some of the sauce.

Return chicken to the oven and cook, uncovered, for a further 45 minutes to an hour or until juice runs clear. Remove from oven.

Transfer chicken to a plate and cover loosely with foil. Set aside.

Place the casserole dish or frying pan full of sauce over a medium-high heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, for approximately 5 minutes until sauce has reduced and thickened. Add chickpeas and stir through to heat.

Place chicken back on top of sauce and serve immediately.