They can steal your recipe, but the sauce won’t taste the same.
~ Internet Image ~
When I have to make quick weeknight suppers, I mostly turn to a freezer staple – deboned chicken. It’s not very exciting, but easy to prepare, quick to cook and if you treat it right, very tasty. This Saucy Mediterranean Chicken recipe is really just the basic stuff I throw into a pan when I run low on imagination. If you make the recipe in a similar manner most of the time, it doesn’t need much thought but also doesn’t taste like a bad science experiment. The flavouring is pretty basic, and the best part is that it’s changeable. No paprika in the cupboard? Use Butter Chicken curry paste and give it an Indian flavour! Only have carrots and beans left in the fridge? Add some Thai red curry paste and end-of-the-month veggies can taste good too!
Good wine, good food
The Mediterranean is known for its climate, beauty, food and wine. If you have watched a few food travel shows (especially ones like Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes) you will know that the flavours and influences are many, but all delicious. I have but scratched the surface of real Mediterranean cuisine here. But you will find tomato, garlic, paprika and herbs in lots of Mediterranean recipes, so I feel confident enough that my Saucy Mediterranean Chicken will remind you of sun-drenched hills, blue seas and good wine. I love slow food such as my Slow-Cooked Chicken Stew, Curry Chicken Potjie and Drunken Beans. A lot of Mediterranean food is slow-cooked to draw out those amazing flavours, but thanks to the deboned chicken, this recipe is quick enough for a last-minute weeknight feast!
The dark meat or the white?
For years I bought deboned chicken breasts as a rule and never looked left or right. Deboned chicken thighs was a happy discovery though and I love to buy them as often as I can afford to. They are more expensive, but cook very quickly and is so tender and tasty! Luckily this recipe has a lovely sauce and therefore chicken breasts will do equally well. No dry white meat here. The fact that this is a Mediterranean dish also means vegetarians or vegans can leave out the chicken entirely and create an equally tasty supper with canned chickpeas or barlotti beans. In fact, I am definitely adding the vegetarian version to my repertoire!!
Saucy Mediterranean Chicken
- 800 g new baby potatoes, washed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 500 g deboned chicken thighs, in large chunks or breasts or chicken tenders
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed or grated
- 1 t dried chilli flakes
- 2 t dried green herbs like parsley, origanum or basil, or an Italian blend
- 2 t sweet paprika
- 1 t smoked Spanish paprika or less if you find it very pungent
- 250 g white button mushrooms, sliced
- 250 g baby marrows, sliced
- 1 small brinjal, cubed
- 1 tin cherry tomatoes in sauce
- ½ tin water
- salt and pepper to taste
- sweetener to taste eg. sugar, honey or chutney
- 2 tbsp fresh, chopped parsley
- Place the potatoes in a large pot, cover with hot water and boil till tender - around 20 minutes. Remove from pot when tender and set aside to cool slightly.
- Whle the potatoes are cooking, add the olive oil to a large pan and set on medium heat. Add the sliced onions and fry till translucent.
- Increase the heat to high and add the chicken to the pan. Brown the chicken evenly.
- Reduce the heat and add the garlic and chilli flakes. Fry for a minute or two.
- Add the herbs, paprika (both types) and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Add the veggies one type at a time and give your mixture some time to get back up to heat after each addition.
- Add the tin of cherry tomatoes and half a tin of water and let the mixture simmer for 10 minutes or until the veggies are tender and the sauce has reduced slightly. Add some sweetener to balance the taste of the sauce if necessary.
- While your sauce is simmering, cut the potatoes in halves or quarters depending on their size.
- Once the stew is cooked, add the potatoes and mix them carefully into the sauce. You don't want to break up the potato chunks too much.
- Serve with some chopped parsley. If you are not worried about eating double carbs you can also serve some crusty bread to soak up all that delicious sauce.
- If you want to change the flavouring of the dish, replace the chilli, paprika and green herbs with two tablespoons of Indian or Thai curry paste.
- Whole or crushed tomatoes will also work, but I love the look of the red cherry tomatoes in this dish. You can also use fresh cherry tomatoes and tomato passata (half a cup of each).
- Feel free use other veggies such as carrots, beans, pattypans or asparagus.
- If you want to go vegetarian, replace the chicken with two tins of chickpeas or barlotti beans. This can be added after you have added the tomatoes.
- If you are not in the mood for potatoes, cook a batch of pasta like penne or conchiglie (pasta shells) and mix that into the saucy chicken. A sprinkle of cheese and 20 minutes in a hot oven and you have a delicious chicken pasta bake.
- If you have to watch your carbs like me, you can replace the potato with sweet potato chunks, or cauliflower florets aka "fake potatoes".