Chicken Basquaise is a dish that defines the simple elegance of French Basque cooking. The peppers, onions, and garlic are cooked until they are melting, then topped with some piment d’Espelette and browned chicken. Recipes for this traditional dish are few and far between, and we can’t figure out why.
Game plan: You’ll need to make the Pipérade before you begin.
This recipe was featured as part of our Family-Friendly Party Done Right photo gallery.
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings
- Difficulty: Medium
- Total: 1 hr 30 mins
- Active: 45 mins
- 1 (3- to 3-1/2-pound) broiler chicken, cut into 8 pieces (ask your butcher to do this)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Pipérade (see Game Plan note)
- Rinse chicken pieces and pat dry with paper towels. Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat oil over medium-high heat in a 3-1/2- or 5-quart casserole or large Dutch oven.
- When oil shimmers, add chicken pieces in a single layer (do this in batches) and let cook until very brown, turn, and repeat until pieces are well-browned all over, about 10 minutes per batch. Remove browned pieces to a plate and set aside. Discard excess oil and wipe out the pot with paper towels.
- Place pipérade in the bottom of the pot, top with browned chicken pieces, cover, and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook, stirring occasionally (make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot so the sauce doesn’t burn), until the chicken is cooked through, about 45 minutes. Serve on top of steamed rice or potatoes.
Beverage pairing: Domaine Ilarria Irouléguy Rouge, France. Go all-in on the Basquaise with a not-well-known Basque wine. Made from a blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Irouléguy’s not a delicate wine, but nor is it as big as wines made with these varieties in the New World. Its smoky flavor and dark fruits will merge nicely with the rustic onions, garlic, and red Espelette peppers in the sauce.