Serves: 4 
Preparation time: 30 minutes 
Cook time: 40 minutes 

Mardi Michels shows you how to make this warming – but not overly spicy! – chicken stew from the Basque country. 

If you’ve ever travelled in the Basque country in South West France or northern Spain, you might have noticed a lot of red and green in everything from street signs to cookware, table linen and dishes. Those are the Basque colours and this dish is a nod to that. This colourful, braised chicken is seasoned with the local 
Piment d’Espelette (Espelette chilli powder), a very common spice you’ll see all over the Basque region in both France and Spain. Brought to the area from Mexico in the 16th century, it’s used on many dishes – it’s not a super spicy pepper, it’s a little bit sweet and the heat is subtle. If you travel to this part of the world, you’ll see the peppers drying in the sun everywhere! 


  • 10 chicken thighs, bone in, skin on 
  • 4 tbsps olive oil, divided 
  • ½ cup (120 ml) warm chicken stock 
  • 1 medium onion (approx. 200g), halved and thinly sliced 
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 1 large red pepper (approx. 400g), cored, seeded and sliced into
  • 1cm strips 1 large green pepper (approx. 400g), cored, seeded and sliced into 1cm strips 
  • 1 tsp dried thyme 
  • 2 tsps salt 
  • ¼  tsp freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1 tsp Piment d’Espelette (or you can use ½  tsp chilli powder) 
  • 3 cups whole plum tomatoes and their juices (one 28oz/ 796 ml can) 


1Pre-heat oven to 375˚F.

2Heat 2 tbsps of the olive oil in a large, preferably non-stick 3-quart (2.8l) ovenproof skillet (approx. 10 inches/ 25 cm in diameter), over medium-high heat.

3Place the drumsticks or thighs skin-side down and cook for around 5 minutes, or until browned. Flip the chicken and cook for a further 5 minutes. Set aside on a plate and cover with aluminium foil until you are ready to use it.

4Keep the skillet on the medium-high heat and add a splash of the chicken stock to the pan. Use a wooden spatula to scrape up any of the browned bits. Do not discard these, they will add flavour to your dish.

5Once the liquid has evaporated, heat the remaining olive oil in the skillet.

6Add the onions and the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft but not browned (approx. 5 minutes). If the onions start to stick, add a splash of the chicken stock as needed.

7Add the peppers, thyme, salt, pepper and Piment d’Espelette (or chilli powder). Stir to combine all ingredients well, then cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on the vegetables and add a splash of chicken stock if the pan starts to look dry.

8Add the tomatoes and rest of the stock (you shouldn’t have much left at all), stir well and cook, covered for 5 more minutes.

9Add back in the chicken, skin side up, placing the pieces between the vegetables evenly around the skillet. Spoon a little of the juices on top of the chicken pieces.

10Cook, uncovered for 40 minutes at 375˚F.

11Remove from the oven, stir well and serve with steamed white rice.


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