I have to tell you that Mr NQN is not your usual smooth talking man. In fact he has a charming awkward appeal about him. For instance, he was trying to pay me a compliment the other day after I had returned from being overseas.
"You know when you're around, I'm never hungry. But when you left, I couldn't get full" he said.
"What does that mean?" I asked him.
"It means I missed you. That's a compliment" he answered smiling broadly.
Addressing the hunger in his stomach, I threw whatever I could at him. It started with a humongous bowl of oatmeal porridge to fill the growling gap in his tummy, followed by sweet dulce de leche filled chocolates bought in Buenos Aires and ended with this Basque Chicken.
Adapted from a Manu Fieldel recipe I loved the idea that the chicken was cooked with a colourful range of capsicum and spiced up using piment d'espelette, a gift I received from my friend Myriam. Piment d'espelette is a chilli pepper powder that is used extensively in Basque cuisine. It was also a nod to Mr NQN's basque heritage and we both love spicy food.
I gave an enormous maryland to Mr NQN who devoured it quickly and then looked around for more. He loved the soft chicken covered in sauce that fell off the bone with barely a nudge. The sauce is lifted with the vinegar and the soft vegetables and prosciutto added flavour and colour. His verdict? "I'm finally full" he said grinning.
So tell me Dear Reader, are you good at taking compliments? Or do you try and deflect them?
And here is today's Wallpaper Wednesday picture! xxx
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes plus 50 minutes unattended
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, sliced
8 garlic cloves, peeled
100g/3.5ozs prosciutto or bacon
1 yellow, 1 red and one green capsicum, seeded and sliced thinly
2 large green chillies, sliced into rings
Piment d'espelette or cayenne pepper
2 sprigs thyme
2 bay leaves
3 tomatoes, peeled and chopped finely
200ml white wine
4 tablespoons red wine or balsamic vinegar
4 chicken marylands (leg and thigh)
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to season
Step 1 - In a large cast iron pot, heat 2 of the tablespoons of oil on medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft. Add the garlic and prosciutto and cook for a few minutes until garlic is softened. Add sliced capsicums, green chilli and piment d'espelette or cayenne pepper to taste (I found 3/4 teaspoon of the piment d'espelette quite hot). Cook for 5 minutes until capsicum is starting to soften.
Step 2 - Add the thyme, bay leaves, chopped tomatoes, wine and vinegar and simmer with the lid off for about 8-10 minutes. Season this with sugar, salt and pepper to taste and remove from the pan and place in a bowl.
Step 3 - Heat remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pan on medium to high heat. Brown the chicken marylands, two at a time skin side down until browned and then turn over. Once browned, turn heat down to low and place lid on and cook the chicken for 20 minutes.
Yep, that is a microwave plate that I used. This is what happens when Mr NQN uses all of the plates and doesn't do the dishes ;)
Step 4 - Then top the chicken with the capsicum mixture and put lid back on and cook for 50 minutes until the chicken is very soft. Serve with rice or bread.