While spending a year in France during one of my University years, I gained a real appreciation of French cuisine (and of course French wine!)
I got this recipe from a lovely lady called Madame Dupont that lived a somewhat frugal life in the village where I stayed, she lived with her husband, growing most of their own vegetables and making their own Pineau (an alcoholic spirit found in the South West) from the grapes they grew in their garden.
In their cellar was a natural rock face that kept the cellar cool and the humidity was kept high from the damp rock face. They grew the most amazing mushrooms in the cellar that she would use in this recipe. Basque chicken is normally served with rice.
4 chicken breasts or chicken thighs
1 onion finely chopped
2 cloves garlic
500g peeled and chopped tomatoes
3 sweet peppers
100g Lardons (fatty bacon pieces). Streaky bacon pieces will do.
1 small chilli
1 small jar olives
1 glass white wine
2 tablespoons tomato purée
½ teaspoon sugar
Seasoning – Salt, pepper
Olive oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Fry the chicken in a heavy based casserole dish in a little olive oil over a high heat to brown the chicken. Add the finely chopped onion, lardons and garlic, leaving them to cook for a few minutes then pour the wine in. Add the rough cut peppers and the finely chopped chilli. Next add the tomatoes, olives (drained), basil, oregano, season to taste, cover and place in the oven.
After 30 minutes, the lid of the casserole can be removed. Leave for 10 minutes to reduce the contents slightly.
Your Basque chicken is now ready to serve.
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