Spice up your chicken life with this smoky, richly-spiced and easy to cook pollo al chilindron (chicken with peppers)! Take a quick trip to Spain with smoky ground pimentón, fresh bell peppers and Serrano ham. Works with all diets including paleo, keto and is naturally gluten and dairy free!
What I've come to love about authentic Spanish food is that it is simple.
One-pot-wonders like paella, or simple tapas to pair with sherry or a sassy red wine and friends. Spanish cuisine is often a few well-chosen ingredients, prepared carefully, and without fuss.
What is pollo al chilindron?
Pollo al chilindron, or chicken with peppers, hails from Navarra, Spain and is a perfect example of fresh ingredients and simple technique. Serrano ham and brandy are not a hard sell, either.
When tasked with cooking this dish in culinary school, I wondered about its flavor potential since the ingredients are fairly commonplace. But that's the idea behind Spanish regional cuisine: Great ingredients make great food.
They leave the fancy to France.
This one is fun, too, because the recipe calls for a flambé with brandy. Bringing it. (Skip the flambé if fire in the kitchen makes you nervous, or you don't partake in spirits).
- chicken wings, thighs or drumsticks
- Roma tomatoes
- red onion
- green pepper
- red pepper
- brandy (white wine for GAPS)
- unsalted chicken stock (homemade for GAPS)
- pimentón (Spanish paprika) or smoked paprika
- avocado oil
- Italian parsley
- olive oil
Substitute for pimentón
Pimentón is a smoky, savory ground spice of dried red chili peppers. In Spain you will find pimentón in a variety of heat levels, ranging from sweet (dulcé) to hot (picante). It can be hard to find, so I often substitute with a nice smoked paprika when cooking this one at home.
Traditionally this one calls for saffron, but it's quite spendy, and leaving it out won't drastically compromise your flavors.
In classical cooking terms, the method here is pan-searing, sometimes called pan-roasting. And regardless of the specific recipe, pan-roasting goes like this:
Screaming hot pan.
Thin coating of oil.
Only flip the meat once!
How long you cook the meat on either side is determined by size, of course. If you're nervous about undercooking chicken (and we all should be), buy a cheap digital thermometer to make sure it reaches 165° F.
In this dish, the meat is seared first, then set aside. The sauce and vegetables are cooked right in the same pan and the chicken is added back in at the end.
One pan and less mess.
Perfect Pan Sauce
My favorite part about pan-searing meat or fish is the complex flavor that develops as the outside browns, leaving all those little bits in the pan.
Exploit those bits, friends!
Once the meat or fish is cooked through, set it aside.
Then add water, stock, wine, beer or in this case, brandy, to the pan.
Crank the heat up and as the liquid simmers away, stir and scrape, scrape and stir.
Tasty little bits = Tasty pan sauce.
This is called deglazing in classical French cuisine (I'm guessing you know this).
How to Deglaze a Pan
The key to deglazing is to get a strong simmer going and really scrape all over the pan to release the drippings. This also makes cleaning the pan later much easier!
How much you reduce, or boil away, the liquid depends on the ultimate goal of the specific recipe. Whipping up a cream sauce for fish? Reduce any stock and cream to about half of what you started with, to the point when it thickens slightly.
When the liquid is alcoholic, you want to simmer well and reduce down to only a few tablespoons left in the pan. This will burn off the alcohol and concentrate the flavors.
French kitchen term = sec for dry.
When you add any vegetables depends on the dish. In the recipe below, the brandy is boiled mostly away, then the vegetables are sautéed and soften in the small amount of brandy glaze.
However, moisture-heavy ingredients like mushrooms should be sautéed before deglazing so they can caramelize nicely. Caramelization and browning won't happen in the steamy environment created by adding liquid to a pan. #cookingisscience
Tapas-style pollo al chilindron
Most nights, once the sauce is ready I serve my team chilindrón straight outta the skillet, and we eat the meat off the bone.
But if you're in the mood for one last step, pull the chicken meat from the bone and stir it back into the pan. Then for a fun tapas-style meal, serve with toasted fresh baguette.
And a little brandy on the rocks, if you dare.
Paleo, keto, gluten and dairy free
With a range of diets followed in our house and extended family, I love that this one fits with every last one! Serving the chicken, peppers and sauce over sautéed cauliflower rice makes a great, quick and easy nutrient-packed meal for busy week nights.
What I find makes pollo al chilindron a great weeknight ditty, is that it's a winner even without the brandy and saffron.
And if you're in a pinch, substituting ground herbs and spices for the garlic and parsley is a simple switch that makes this one really low-maintenance.
Chicken drumsticks and thighs make for a meatier meal, but of course the cooking time will be a bit longer for both.
Do try the recipe as written when you have the time and interest to gather all the ingredients. It truly is a crowd-pleasing and deceptively healthy nosh!
And my final piece of professional advice: acquire more brandy than you need for the recipe. The leftovers mix smashingly into a pitcher of restaurant-style red sangria.
Yours in chicken,
Wonderfully savory and smoky, this is a great way to spice up ever-boring chicken. Fits into the requirements for so many healing diets, including GAPS, paleo and keto!
- 15-20 chicken wings, buffalo style (or 1-2 pounds chicken thighs, boneless)
- 3 Roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced, or drain a can of diced tomatoes
- ½ red onion, medium, minced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 green pepper, diced small
- 1 red pepper, diced small
- ½ cup brandy (white wine for GAPS)
- ½ cup unsalted chicken stock (homemade for GAPS)
- 2 teaspoons pimentón (Spanish paprika), or smoked paprika
- avocado oil, for cooking
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian parsley, chopped
- olive oil, for drizzling on finished dish
Optional (leave out for GAPS diet)
- ½ cup Serrano ham, small dice (leave out for GAPS diet)
- Season chicken with salt and black pepper. In a large sauté pan over medium-heat heat, cook chicken in olive oil until golden brown on both sides.
- Add brandy or white wine, and simmer (or flambé) until alcohol burns off, and brandy is reduced almost completely. Remove chicken and set aside.
- Add onions and peppers to pan, and cook until light golden brown. Add garlic and cook one minute, until fragrant.
- Stir in tomatoes, pimentón, chicken wings and serrano.
- Simmer over medium-low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Add more chicken stock if necessary to maintain a sauce consistency.
- If desired, pull meat from bones and add back to sauce and peppers. Season to taste with salt and black pepper, and garnish with chopped parsley.
In a pinch, swap in ground spices and herbs for the onion, garlic and parsley. If you don't have brandy or saffron on hand (who does), the dish is truly wonderful even without them.
Keywords: pollo al chilindron, chicken recipes, chicken dinner recipes, recipes with chicken wings, recipes with pimentón