Spanish chicken bake with butter beans, chorizo and olives

by Jeanne on February 26, 2009

in Main course - poultry, My Legume Love Affair, Recipes - gluten-free, Recipes - pulses

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I always wonder how some dishes got their names – particularly names that ascribe a certain national heritage to a dish, but which dish you won’t find on a single menu in its alleged coutry of origin.

I have a recipe which I got from a friend in high school or shortly afterwards, and which my mom and I made many times to great acclaim.  It consists of a baked chicken casserole in a rich tomato sauce, with lots of bell peppers, olives and raisins.  And of course, it’s called Mexican chicken.  Because olives and raisins are just so Mexican…

My hometown of Port Elizabeth has a large population of Chinese immigrants, and probably the first ethnic cuisine that any child growing up in PE came into contact with was Chinese.  Obviously, everybody’s favourite was deep-fried sweet and sour pork, but there is a good chance that your second choice would be Shanghai steak, strips of tender stir-fried beef in a rich, almost sweetish gravy studded liberally with peas.  But just like no Indian kitchen ever spawned a chicken tikka masala, no such dish as Shanghai steak has ever graced the kitchens of China.

In coffee shops around South Africa, you will encounter a certain item on the menu.  It’s a dish that is referred to in reverential tones and its mere mention will make dieters break down and cry:  Greek chocolate cake.  Now I have to say that I have never been to Greece and for all I know, every Greek grandmother is churning out these rich chocolate layer cakes every other day.  But a bit of research on the internet did not reveal any particular connection between this chocolate cake and Greek cuisine.  Other than the fact that in Port Elizabeth the best chocolate cakes happen to be baked by Greek ladies!  Maybe Peter can enlighten us?

So, viewed against that background we come to today’s dish.  Nope – it’s not something that I’ve ever seen on a Spanish menu, so in that sense it falls into the same category as the three examples above.  But at least there is a tangible Spanish connection this time, in terms of the flavour of the spicy chorizo and olives and, of course, the beans.  It’s dead easy to make, it’s incredibly tasty and satisfying to eat (rather like an Iberian cassoulet), and it freezes beautifully so you can make loads and keep some for later.  And because the beans are such a central ingredient, I am submitting this recipe to the lovely Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook for the eighth My Legume Love Affair event.  If you hurry you can still get your entries in until Saturday 28 February!

SPANISH CHICKEN BAKE (serves 6)

Ingredients:

8-10 chicken thighs
1 Tbsp olive oil for frying
3 Tbsp seasoned flour
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g chorizo, cubed
300ml chicken stock
1 can chopped tomatoes (400g)
2 cans butter beans, drained
about 3/4 cup of black olives
paprika
salt and pepper

Method:

Make the seasoned flour by adding generous amounts of salt, pepper and paprika to your 3 Tbsp of flour.  Mix well.  Heat the oil in a large frying pan, dredge each chicken piece well in the seasoned four, shake off the excess and fry the chicken in the oil, turning until both sides are browned.  Set aside and keep warm.

Add a little more oil to the pan, then add the onion, garlic and chorizo.  Fry together until the onion becomes translucent and has absorbed some of the fat from the chorizo.  Then add the 2 tins of beans, the chopped tomatoes and the chicken stock and cook over medium heat until heated through and bubbling.  Check for seasoning and add more paprika if necessary, as well as salt and pepper.

Place the browned chicken thighs in a large, shallow ovenproof dish.  Pour the butter bean mix over the chicken, then bake uncovered at 180C for about an hour.  After an hour, add the olives to the dish, bake for a further 15 minutes or so.  Serve with wilted spinach and brown rice.

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

nina February 27, 2009 at 3:37 am

Would you believe that someone asked me for a “Spanish Chicken” recipe yesterday. I had a good chuckle about the Greek chocolate cake….I’d love to here Peter’s explination to this!

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nina February 27, 2009 at 3:38 am

Sorry for the spelling mistake!!!

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Meeta February 27, 2009 at 7:48 am

The flavors and ingredients are Spanish – I normally use “style” when I am not sure. So Spanish style chicken bake for example. In the end who cares it has to taste good and this really looks like it does!

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Sophie February 27, 2009 at 9:28 am

MMMMM… this dish is calling me,…..great flavours!!

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barbara February 27, 2009 at 10:36 am

I’ve never seen a chicken dish look so appetising. You’ve really captured it beautifully.I feel I could poke a fork through the screen.

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Robin February 27, 2009 at 11:12 am

Wow, that looks lovely and a great pic; I must try it.
I recently came across uncooked chorizo (which my local deli offers) which makes a big diff with these types of dish (I’m sure you use the same, but if not, give it a go). I didn’t previously realise uncooked chorizo were available but it gives lots of extra flavour and better texture.

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Jan February 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

Mmmmm that looks good! I love the chorizo you’ve out in.
Ps: My chili plant is doing LOADS more flowers!! YAY!

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Treehouse Chef February 27, 2009 at 3:01 pm

love this recipe. Very unique!

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nannie February 27, 2009 at 3:31 pm

All of your recipes are so inviting and delicious.I will to cook for tomorrow lunch.Btw i have link my blog with yours.

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Bellini Valli February 27, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Even if this may not be an authentic recipe it evokes visions of Spain and all it’s history..so good enough for me:D

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Graeme February 27, 2009 at 8:48 pm

That looks so good. There’s no way you could’ve gone wrong here.
Nicely done!
I can imagine raisins in there as well too.

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browniegirl February 28, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Ooooh this looks deelish!!! Stunning recipe and photograph…xxx

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Niamh March 1, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Oh this looks really delicious and perfect for Spring! Yum.

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katie March 6, 2009 at 7:20 pm

It’s not until one starts to travel that we realize these dishes have names unrelated to the cuisine… Still taste good, tho!

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Susan March 7, 2009 at 7:08 pm

Savory and moreish! (Just like that Singapore Mai Fun that’s got nothing whatsoever to do with Singapore. ; D)
Thanks for the lush dish, Jeanne. Glad you could join in MLLA8! Round-up due in a few more days.

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Elizabeth March 9, 2009 at 2:33 pm

Spanish Schmanish – who cares what the label is? It looks and sounds fabulous.
I had to look up “butter bean”. Is it fava or lima? In your photo, the beans look like white kidney beans – if there are such beans.
(Whatever the bean is, this recipe is bookmarked!)

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Brad S April 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

I live in Spain on the Costa del Sol and have had a dish very much like this at a restaurant in Malaga, as an appetizer, but it did not have chicken in it. It was simply a stew of white beans and chorizo in tomato sauce. I’ve got chicken and chorizo in the fridge and was looking for some ideas and came across your recipe. It really is a Spanish dish :)

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Telebrands June 23, 2011 at 8:21 pm

Thanks for this Spanish chicken bake recipe. I think the butter beans, chorizo and olives would go quite well with this chicken. Great post.

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Simon Robertson August 4, 2011 at 2:16 am

Someone else who understands what I don’t – how did the Greek chocolate cake that we Port Elizabethans so loved get its name??? Do you have a recipe by any chance (or know where I can get one) for the Greek chocolate cake you have pics of on your blog? Thanks in advance.

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