José Pizarro’s Pan-fried chicken with Pimentón de la Vera is a fabulous way to enjoy smoked paprika (named for the place it’s produced, a county in Spain’s Extremadura region). It’s a wonderfully simple recipe too. Good quality hot smoked paprika makes a difference here, as it provides the key flavour. This recipe is from Spice: A Cook’s Companion by Mark Diacono.
Read our indepth review of Mark Diacono’s Spice: A Cook’s Companion and you may also like our post about Mark’s previous title, Herb: A Cook’s Companion.
For us, the mashed potatoes (also flavoured with smoked paprika) were too similar in flavour to the chicken and we reckon a contrasting flavour (such as mash with butter and parsley), or plain buttery mash, would be a better side.
Pan-Fried Chicken with Pimentón de la Vera and Mashed Potatoes by José Pizarro
My oldest friend used to copy my essays in sixth form. He may as well have selected random words from random fairy tales for all the good it did him. We drifted through a few idle post-school years before heading in different directions to – somehow, and without planning – separately arrive in the food world. He has a restaurant in Bermondsey, a hop and a skip from José, the tapas bar. I can think of few places I’d rather be on sunny day than José, eating yet another plate of patatas bravas, marvelling at the joy of sherry and watching the world go by while talking nonsense with my friend.
I’m thrilled José has shared this delicious recipe with us, showing off the unique qualities of pimentón de la Vera perfectly. This is a great example of what can happen when the Venn diagram of people, plants and place come together to beautiful culinary effect. Chilli peppers, originally brought to Spain from Mexico, have been grown in the fertile soils of the la Vera river valley for most of 500 years; once harvested, they are oak-smoked, before being slowmilled (to avoid flavour-changing heat) to a powder. Each increment of experience and terroir sing in the hot, smoked flavour of this special pimentón.
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, skin on
- 1 bay leaf
- 8 boneless chicken thighs, halved
- 1 tsp pimentón de la Vera picante (hot/spicy smoked paprika)
- 6 tbsp white wine
- sea salt and freshly ground white pepper
For the mashed potatoes
- 4 large red potatoes
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled but left whole
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp pimentón de la Vera picante
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
First, you need to infuse the oil that the chicken is going to be cooked in. Heat the oil over a very gentle heat and add the garlic cloves and the bay leaf. It should take about 20 minutes to colour the garlic, very slightly. Once cooked, remove the garlic and bay leaf and set the fried garlic to one side.
Turn the heat up to high. Season the chicken, add it to the pan skin side down and fry for 10 minutes on one side – you want a nice crispy golden outside. Turn the pieces over and cook for another 5 minutes. Add the pimentón and white wine, give everything a good stir and leave to bubble gently for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the mashed potatoes. Peel the potatoes and cut them into large chunks. Boil with the garlic cloves, bay leaf, 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and a pinch of salt. Once cooked, skim off the olive oil and reserve. Drain the potatoes and remove the garlic and bay leaf. Mash the potatoes with all the olive oil (both the reserved and the remaining) and the pimentón.
Spoon the mashed potatoes into the middle of a platter, place the chicken on top (skin side up) and pour over the juices. Serve with the fried garlic cloves.
We think the chicken would also be great served with a crunchy green salad.
Made the recipe? Leave a comment below to let us know how you got on!
You may also like to see more recipes by Mark Diacono.
We love cooking with chicken! You can browse all our chicken recipes here.
Kavey Eats received a review copy of Spice: A Cook’s Companion from publishers Quadrille. Book photography by Mark Diacono. Home cooked photos by Kavita Favelle.