What’s cooking today: Chicken, chouriço and potato bake
We’re still on a bit of a Portuguese bender, so there’s chilli and garlic again in this dish, and lemon, and I included quartered potatoes because in parts of Portugal an oven bake of chicken with potatoes and chouriço is a popular dish.
In Portugal, half-moon curls of their spicy chouriço sausages are scored and blackened over naked alcohol flames, in a tradition called chouriço assado (grilled chouriço). I was unable to source the correct sort of chouriço for this recipe, but a product called chorizo grillers (look, it wasn’t my first choice) sufficed. When I do get hold of some proper chouriço, I’ll share how to make chouriço assado with you.
Frankly, this “griller” culture has gone too far. When a fad starts replacing traditional foods to the extent that if you ask for chouriço you’re shown packets of “grillers”, alarm bells should toll, for surely the end of the world as we know it is nigh. (Even frankenfurters, bratwurst and bockwurst are now sometimes labelled grillers.) Traders in, and marketers of, food products have a growing list of sins to answer for.
Even Eskort, the manufacturer of our beloved pork sausages, now offers “woodsmoked cheese grillers”. It seems that nothing is sacred any more. Why can “cheese grillers” not find their place alongside the other lovely sausages we cherish? Why must they replace them? Yes, people do buy the griller options if they can’t find the one they’re actually looking for, but this doesn’t mean there is no demand for anything other than ersatz. (A product made or used as a substitute, typically an inferior one – Oxford).
But anyway, this is a weeknight family oven bake, so let’s just go with it. Of course, if you can find the real deal, that’s what to use, whether chouriço or chorizo.
3 or 4 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
8 chicken thighs
Olive oil, as needed
Chilli oil, as needed (I used Banhoek)
1 red onion, quartered
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Smoked paprika, as needed
Crushed garlic powder, as needed
16 baby tomatoes, whole or halved
3 or 4 red chillies, deseeded and chopped
6 garlic cloves, sliced
1.5 cups sliced chouriço
1 glass dry white wine
Salt and black pepper to taste
Oregano for garnish
Steam the potatoes for about 10 minutes to parcook them. Let them cool to room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 200℃ or 220℃ (my gas oven prefers a higher heat). Rinse and dry the chicken thighs.
In a small bowl, mix together 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp crushed garlic powder, salt and black pepper. Toss the chicken portions in this.
Heat the olive oil in a frying pan, add the chilli oil, heat for half a minute, and brown the chicken thighs on both sides.
In the same bowl, mix together 1 tsp smoked paprika, 1 tsp crushed garlic powder and some salt and black pepper, 1 Tbsp chilli oil, and add the juice of a lemon and its zest. Toss the cooled, cooked potatoes in this.
Oil the bottom of a suitable oven dish (using olive or chilli oil, or both).
Place the thighs, interspersed with potatoes, wedges of red onion, slices of chouriço, baby tomatoes, garlic slices and chopped red chillies.
Pour in a glass of wine, season with a little more salt and black pepper, and bake for about an hour or until the chicken is cooked to the bone when a skewer is inserted and clear juices show.
Pour the liquid off into a small saucepan. Put it on a moderate heat and reduce for two or three minutes. Spoon off any residual fat. Dissolve a teaspoonful of cornflour in a little water and stir it in. Let it simmer for a minute or two, stirring, while the sauce thickens. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as necessary. DM
Dine with Tony and friends: Tony Jackman and his Karoo cohorts will be hosting regular Cradock Dining Club evenings at his Cradock home from December 2023. If you would like to book for a future event, start a chat with Tony at [email protected] and we’ll make a plan. Maximum 12 people per dinner.
Tony Jackman is Galliova Food Writer 2023, jointly with TGIFood columnist Anna Trapido.
Follow Tony Jackman on Instagram @tony_jackman_cooks.