Tuesday, 8 March 2016


So I love Spanish food. If I had to choose anywhere or any cuisine I wanted to eat at for my final meal...and if Carluccios no longer existed, it would be at a tapas restaurant somewhere. Anywhere. Tapas. I'd make sure we had Padron Peppers and Chorizo is a must. As my last meal, I'd also be allowed olives so that would be fab...and maybe a tortilla (Spanish Omlette - not the flatbread) and...Oh i don't know! Just bring me everything on the menu! And bring it fast.

You get the drift.

Anyway, the other day I was walking down Portobello Road looking at all the vegetable stalls and stocking up for the meals ahead when I spotted...A Spanish supermarket! Yes, that's right, a supermarket filled to the brim with Spanish treats. A whole charcuterie section with serano ham and chorizo, an olive bar filled with pot after pot of those delicious nibbles and many, many other tasties. Well, I couldn't exactly walk in and then leave without buying anything, could I! That would just be rude. So I bought one of those long Chorizo Sausages mostly used for cooking as well as a packet of Padron Peppers! Mmmmm.

That night I got creative.

Chickeny, Spanishy...Food?

2 Chicken Thighs
Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Garlic Granules
1 Lemon 
Mixed Herbs
Salt + Pepper
Potatoes (for mashing)
4 Padron Peppers (optional)
A Handful of Sage Leaves
1 Vegetable Stock Cube

1. So the first step is to marinate the chicken because, as you know by now, I like to do this. Pour a generous amount of olive oil, a dash of soy sauce, a sprinkle of herbs and another sprinkle of garlic granules, a squeeze of lemon juice  and some salt and pepper into a bowl and mix the chicken thighs around. You can even squeeze the lemon over the thighs too just to ensure those juices are covering the meat. Cover up the bowl and leave while you either prepare other things or...have a bath...or...your choice.
2. Potatoes take quite a while I find so I always like to put these on early. Chop them up into smallish piece...quarters if you will and place in a pan of cold water. Put the pan on the heat with the lid on and allow to boil. You can continue with other things while they're a-cooking.
3. The only real preparation needed for the rest of the dish is chopping up your chorizo. You want your pieces reasonably small. Bitesize if you will. If you lack a Spanish shop in your local vicinity, most supermarkets will sell packets of chopped/cubed chorizo in their cold meats section, so you can always purchase these. 
4. Once the chicken has had time to marinate and abosorb those delicious flavours (nommm), heat up a little bit of oil in a deep frying pan and place the thighs, skin-side-down on the heat. Your aim is to crisp up the skin a bit but not to burn it and not to cook the chicken completely through. While they're browning, you can also  squeeze over some more lemon juice and add the two lemon halves to the pan. 
5. Now the chicken has started cooking, you can remove them from the top, place them on a tray with a splash more olive oil and some of the juices from the pan and put them in the middle of the oven at around 170-180 degrees. These will need another 30 minutes or so but keep checking them. My method for chicken is to use a knife and fork (wash with hot water after just in case) to cut into the middle of the thigh and check its colour. If any pinkness is visible, it needs more time. 
6. So, the chicken is in the oven and you have a frying pan on the heat with some lemon floating around. Now you can start dealing with other bits. Chuck into the pan your chorizo pieces and the padron peppers and give the chorizo time to release its flavours and the padron peppers time to brown and blister (looks how you would imagine) slightly on the outside. Padron peppers really need salt to make them lose their bitterness which is why I say optional...I think next time, I probably wouldn't use them but feel free to give it a go!
7. When the potatoes are ready (you'll know by poking them with a knife and feeling it go through easily), drain them, tip them back into the saucepan with a generous lump of butter, some salt and pepper and a dash of milk and get your mashing skills on. Your aim here is to have as few lumps as possibly although that's not vital as you shall seeee later.
8. Potatoes done, chicken nearly ready, pour the mash into the frying pan with the chorizo (and peppers), tip in a hefty amount of spinach leaves (because we all know how much they shrink now, don't we!), a bunch of sage leaves and give it a mix. The potatoe will absorb the juices and the flavours and become all soft and yummmmy. Make sure the spinach can reach the heat though so that it cooks properly. 
9. Now you can add some stock. I've said this before but there are two ways of doing this. Either you can make it beforehand, placing a stock cube in a cup or jug and adding boiling water, allowing it to dissolve or you can just crumble a dry stock cube into the mix. Take your pick! Both will add some delicious flavours to your meal. 
10. Now you've got your slightly soupy, potatoey, chorizoey mix thing, you can take your chicken thighs, all nicely cooked through and full of flavour and serve your dish. I made it so it was like a bed of spinach and chorizoey mashed potato with the chicken thighs served on top but go with your imagination. The most important thing is that you....

Enjoyyyyy!...Buen Provecho!

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