Delia Chicken Basque Recipe

Last updated on March 20, 2024

Delia Chicken Basque
Yields: 1 Serving Difficulty: Easy Prep Time: 20 Mins Cook Time: 1 Hr 20 Mins Total Time: 1 Hr 40 Mins

Delia Chicken Basque is a delicious and hearty dish, featuring tender chicken pieces cooked in a rich tomato sauce with peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs. It’s a classic recipe from the Basque region of Spain, where it is known as “pollo a la vasca”. This recipe serves 4-6 people and can be prepared in approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.

In this article, I will show you how to make Delia Chicken Basque step by step, with tips and tricks along the way.

What is Delia Chicken Basque Recipe?

Delia Chicken Basque is a dish that was popularized by the British cook and author Delia Smith, who adapted it from a traditional Basque recipe. It is a simple and satisfying dish that can be made with chicken thighs, drumsticks, or breasts, depending on your preference. The chicken is browned and then simmered in a sauce made with tomatoes, red and green peppers, onions, garlic, white wine, chicken stock, bay leaves, thyme, and paprika. The sauce is thickened with rice, which absorbs the flavors and adds texture. The dish is then baked in the oven until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

There are many reasons to love this recipe, such as:

  • Simplicity: With straightforward steps and common ingredients, it’s a stress-free cooking experience.
  • Flavorful: A harmonious blend of spices and fresh ingredients creates a rich, aromatic dish.
  • Comforting: It’s a warm, hearty meal that’s perfect for any occasion.
  • Adaptable: Easily modify the recipe to suit your taste preferences or dietary needs.
  • Nutritious: Offers a balanced meal with protein, veggies, and grains.

Ingredients Needed to Make Delia Chicken Basque

To make Delia Smith chicken basque, you will need the following ingredients:

  • 8 chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, or breasts), skin on and bone in
  • Salt and black pepper, to season
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 2 red peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 2 green peppers, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 teaspoon of paprika
  • 150 ml of dry white wine
  • 400 g of canned chopped tomatoes
  • 300 ml of chicken stock
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs of fresh thyme, or 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 175 g of long-grain rice, rinsed and drained
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, to garnish

Instructions to Make Delia Chicken Basque

To make this recipe, follow these steps:

Step 1: Preheat the oven and season the chicken

  • Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) or gas mark 4.
  • Season the chicken pieces with salt and pepper on both sides.

Step 2: Brown the chicken and transfer to a casserole dish

  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat.
  • Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and fry for about 10 minutes, turning once, until golden and crisp on both sides.
  • Transfer the chicken pieces to a large ovenproof casserole dish and set aside.

Step 3: Cook the onions, garlic, and peppers

  • Reduce the heat to medium and add the onions, garlic, and peppers to the same frying pan.
  • Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned.
  • Sprinkle the paprika over the vegetables and stir to coat.

Step 4: Add the wine, tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, and thyme

  • Increase the heat to high and add the wine to the pan.
  • Bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the tomatoes, stock, bay leaves, and thyme and bring back to a boil.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 5: Pour the sauce over the chicken and add the rice

  • Pour the sauce evenly over the chicken pieces in the casserole dish.
  • Sprinkle the rice over the sauce and gently stir to mix.
  • Cover the dish tightly with a lid or foil.

Step 6: Bake the dish in the oven

  • Bake the dish in the preheated oven for 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and the rice is tender.
  • Remove the lid or foil and bake for another 10 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly reduced and bubbling.
  • Discard the bay leaves and thyme sprigs.

Step 7: Garnish and serve

  • Sprinkle some chopped parsley over the dish and serve hot, with a green salad or crusty bread if desired.

Delia Chicken Basque Recipe

What Do I Serve With Delia Chicken Basque?

While Delia Chicken Basque is a complete meal on its own, you can complement it with:

  • A Green Salad: A simple salad with a light vinaigrette adds freshness and a crisp texture contrast.
  • Crusty Bread: Ideal for soaking up the delicious sauce, choose from baguette, ciabatta, or sourdough.
  • Steamed Green Vegetables: Broccoli, green beans, or asparagus provide a vibrant color and a boost of nutrition.
  • A Glass of White Wine: A crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Chardonnay pairs beautifully, enhancing the flavors of the dish.

Pro Tips to Make Perfect Delia Chicken Basque

To make this dish even better, follow these pro tips:

  • Select the Right Chicken: Using chicken with the skin on and bone in maximizes flavor. For a leaner option, you can remove the skin after browning.
  • Quality Wine Matters: Choose a dry white wine that you’d enjoy drinking. The wine significantly influences the sauce’s depth and overall taste of the dish.
  • Properly Prep the Rice: Rinsing the rice ensures it cooks perfectly within the sauce, absorbing flavors without becoming sticky.
  • Monitor the Liquid: Check the dish halfway through cooking. If it appears dry, add a bit more stock or water. Conversely, uncover the dish towards the end of cooking if the sauce needs thickening.
  • Season to Taste: Before serving, adjust the seasoning if necessary. The right balance of salt, pepper, and herbs can elevate the dish from good to great.

Variations of Delia Chicken Basque

Delia Chicken Basque is a versatile dish that can be adapted to suit different tastes, dietary needs, or whatever you have on hand.

Here are some variations to inspire you:

  • Different Chicken Cuts: Beyond thighs and drumsticks, try using chicken breasts for a leaner option, or wings for a fun, finger-food twist. Adjust cooking times accordingly to ensure the chicken is cooked through without drying out.
  • Vegetable Varieties: Incorporate carrots, celery, zucchini, or eggplant to add different textures and flavors. A mix of fresh or canned vegetables can also work well.
  • Spice It Up: For a bit of heat, add chili flakes or diced fresh chili. Alternatively, experiment with spices like cumin or curry powder for a unique twist.
  • Herb Refresh: Swap out thyme for rosemary, oregano, or basil. A pinch of dried Herbes de Provence or Italian seasoning can also add a new dimension of flavor.
  • Grain Alternatives: Substitute long-grain rice with brown rice, quinoa, couscous, or even orzo. For a gluten-free version, try using buckwheat, millet, or a rice alternative.
  • Additional Flavors: Consider adding olives, capers, or sun-dried tomatoes for an extra pop of flavor and texture.

How do I Store Delia Chicken Basque Leftovers?

Proper storage of leftovers is key to maintaining the quality and safety of the dish.

Follow these steps:

  • Cooling Down: Let the dish cool to room temperature before storing to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Transfer: Place leftovers in airtight containers or wrap them securely in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
  • Refrigeration: Store the dish in the refrigerator if you plan to eat it within the next 3 days.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the dish in suitable containers or freezer bags for up to 3 months.
  • Labeling: Mark the containers with the date and contents for easy identification.

How do I Reheat Delia Chicken Basque Leftovers?

Reheating leftovers correctly is important to ensure they are safe to eat and as delicious as when first made.

Oven Reheating

  • Preheat the Oven: Warm the oven to 180°C (350°F) or gas mark 4.
  • Oven-Safe Dish: Transfer the leftovers to an oven-safe dish and cover with foil to prevent drying out.
  • Heat Through: Bake until the dish is heated thoroughly, about 20-25 minutes. For larger portions, additional time may be needed.

Microwave Reheating

  • Microwave-Safe Container: Place a portion in a microwave-safe dish and cover loosely with a microwave-safe lid or paper towel.
  • Reheat in Intervals: Heat on high for 2-3 minutes, stir, and then heat for another 1-2 minutes, or until evenly warmed throughout.

Stovetop Reheating

  • Simmer in a Pot: For a quick method, transfer the leftovers to a pot and add a splash of water or chicken stock to keep it moist. Cover and simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Nutrition value (per serving, based on 6 servings):

  • Calories: 561 kcal
  • Protein: 38 g
  • Fat: 25 g (of which 7 g are saturated)
  • Carbohydrates: 46 g (of which 9 g are sugars)
  • Fiber: 5 g
  • Sodium: 480 mg
  • Cholesterol: 115 mg
  • Vitamin A: 35% DV
  • Vitamin C: 120% DV
  • Calcium: 6% DV
  • Iron: 20% DV


Can I Use Boneless Chicken in Delia Chicken Basque?

Yes, boneless chicken can be used in Delia Chicken Basque. While bone-in chicken pieces add more flavor and moisture to the dish, boneless chicken is a suitable alternative for those who prefer it. Adjust cooking times accordingly, as boneless chicken may cook faster than bone-in cuts. It’s important to ensure that the chicken is fully cooked through before serving, reaching an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

How Can I Make Delia Chicken Basque Vegetarian?

To make a vegetarian version of Delia Chicken Basque, replace the chicken with a mix of hearty vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, and bell peppers. You can also add chickpeas or white beans for protein. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to keep the dish vegetarian. Adjust the baking time as needed, since vegetables may not require as long to cook as chicken.

Is Delia Chicken Basque Suitable for Freezing?

Delia Chicken Basque is suitable for freezing and makes a great make-ahead meal. Allow the dish to cool completely before transferring it to airtight freezer-safe containers. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat thoroughly in the oven or microwave, ensuring it’s piping hot throughout before serving.

Can I Prepare Delia Chicken Basque Ahead of Time?

Yes, Delia Chicken Basque can be prepared ahead of time, making it perfect for entertaining or meal prep. You can assemble the dish up to the point before baking and store it covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When ready to cook, let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking as directed. This ensures the dish cooks evenly and the flavors have time to meld together beautifully.

Final Words

Delia Chicken Basque is a wonderful dish that showcases the flavors and traditions of Basque cuisine. It is easy to make, versatile, and satisfying. You can enjoy it with your family or friends, or make it ahead and freeze it for later. It is a dish that will impress your guests and delight your taste buds. I hope you give it a try and let me know how it turns out. Bon appetit!

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