A recipe for chicken and chorizo
Like fashion, food is cyclical. It comes around in waves, following the same sigmoid curve of trendy to mainstream before fading into obscurity, then being revived 20 years later, this time with a nod and a wink to show you know it’s kitsch and retro. The 1960’s was the Beatles, acid and Steak Diane, the 1970’s had mustard wallpaper, Queen and Prawn Cocktails and the 1980’s - big hair, Eurythmics and Fondue.
We don’t talk about the 90’s, when both fusion (octopus with parmesan and passionfruit!) and vegetarianism, in its most primal phase, reared its ugly head and a lot of brown things that resembled (and tasted) like carpet underlay first appeared. Historians have since traced the origins of this cultural phenomenon to a group of cafes in Brighton.*
If 2000 had a flavour it would be chicken and chorizo. It’s the taste of a new Millennium and a brave new world. It’s the flavour of New Labour, Coldplay and low rise jeans. Look, there’s Jamie, smiling up at you from the cover of Sainsbury’s magazine with a recipe. By 2010, chicken and chorizo had all but disappeared, found only in the backwaters of Come Dine With Me repeats. We’ve moved on now. ‘Nduja is the new kid on the block and the de rigour dinner party spread is a jumble of grilled salads, baked aubergines and pomegranate seeds diligently prepared by Ottolenghi’s disciples. But it’s been 20 years, and it’s time for a comeback.
The recipe today is the way I cook at home, which is defined mostly by the contents of the fridge and cupboard and maybe a trip to Tesco Express. This is different to my ‘professional’ recipes which are pre-defined in my head, cooked, tweaked, tested again and then written. This style of home cooking almost always follows a formula that starts with a core ingredient, in this case chicken, and then a decision on a technique, which here is a braise, and then flavourings or aromatics (chorizo, olives, paprika). Sometimes the dish is a one-pan-wonder and sometimes it needs bulking out with a carbohydrate, which could have been rice but instead was olive oil mash which is exactly what it says on the tin. Make mashed potatoes in your usual way and then fold in a generous few tablespoons of good grassy olive oil (one tbsp per portion + one for luck feels about right) and plenty of salt.
I’ve talked before about how what I cook is rarely new, it’s either a classic or bits of classics put together. It’s a formula that has always served me well - lean on the tried and tested ideas of cooks and cuisines that have stood the test of time and perhaps add a nudge of something my own. This recipe is not new or especially exciting, there are no noteworthy twists and turns, but it is good, easy and tasty, and sometimes that’s what’s important.
This newsletter is still in its infancy and, as such, still finding shape. Previously I have included written recipes with photos, and that’s what I will continue to do in the future. Today, I’m going to link you here for a step-by-step video guide. I’ve included the ingredients and quantities below.
*this is a lie
Braised Chicken & Chorizo
Ingredients (serves 4)
500g Chicken Thighs (boneless and skinless, cut into roughly 1 inch chunks)
100g Chorizo, cut into roughly 1cm cubes
1 Onion, sliced
2 Leeks, sliced about 1cm thick
250ml Wine (red or white)
3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled
75g Black Olives (stone in are tastier but more fiddly, you decide)
3 Bay Leaves
A Stick of Rosemary
2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
Salt, Pepper, Olive Oil
Place a saucepan over a high heat, add a splash of olive oil and brown off your chicken with a pinch of salt until it has some good colour. Do this in two batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
Remove the chicken and set aside in a bowl. Lower the heat to medium and add the chorizo, cook for 3 or 4 minutes until some of the fat has released.
Add the onion and leeks and a pinch of salt followed by the white wine. Scrape the bottom of the pan well to deglaze all of the flavour from browning off the chicken. Allow the wine to bubble until completely evaporated.
Add the garlic, olives, bay leaves and rosemary and cook for 2 minutes. Return the chicken and all of its resting juices to the pan, followed by both tins of tomatoes, about a 3rd of a tin of water and a big pinch of salt.
Bring to a simmer and then stir in the paprika and a good amount of black pepper. Simmer for about 20 minutes (this is a good time to make your mash) until thickened up and the chicken is cooked through. Leave to rest for 5 minutes before serving, taste and add salt as needed.