Here is a very simple recipe for Basque chicken. It is perfect to fix when you have fresh bell peppers on hand. It makes a lot of wonderful sauce, so try serving it over rice. Or, even more simply, it can be served with a crusty loaf of fresh French bread.
The Basque Region
This recipe comes from the Basque region, which is located in the southwest of France and extends into Spain. The region includes the western part of the Pyrenees as well as the coast along the Bay of Biscay, which looks out on to the Atlantic ocean. It is both a mountainous and coastal region.
1 chicken cut into 6 pieces (remove the skin if you wish)
salt and pepper
1/2 cup white wine
mixed dried herbs
pinch of cayenne pepper
In a large frying pan, heat two tablespoons olive oil on medium heat and cook the onions and bell pepper for five minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute. Add the tomatoes, cover and simmer on low to medium heat for 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, in another frying pan, brown the chicken on all sides in two tablespoons olive oil on medium heat.
Add the chicken to the tomato sauce along with the wine, several teaspoons of mixed dried herbs, and the pinch of cayenne pepper. Cover and simmer on low to medium heat for 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked.
The Basque region has its own history and cooking traditions that are somewhat distinct from the rest of France. It features lots of seafood (squid in its own ink is a popular delicacy), garlic, and olive oil and tends to be a bit spicier than most French cooking. As with all good French cooking, the emphasis is always on quality, fresh ingredients.
Bell peppers are popular as well in Basque cooking, as in this French Chicken Recipes recipe. I like to use a variety of different colored bell peppers for a pretty effect, but choose whatever suits your taste and is available.
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