The Basque Country is feted across Spain, and indeed the world, for its culinary creativity. It has more three Michelin-starred restaurants than anywhere else, and I can understand why – there are so many local products that you can be inspired by here.
My inspiration for this dish, as with many of my recipes, came from seeing the ingredients together. When I see them, I just have to create a plate of food. When we were in Astarbe in a beautiful cider house, I saw the chickens hopping around the apple trees, and that was it!
- olive oil
- 1 free-range chicken, (1.8–2 kg)
- sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 apple, peeled, cored and halved
- 2 onions, finely sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 sage leaves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 500ml cider
- 400ml fresh chicken stock
- 25g unsalted butter
- 3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced into 8 pieces
- 1 teaspoon caster sugar
- 75g sultanas
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Heat a layer of oil in a large casserole dish. Season the chicken inside and out, and brown all over in the casserole dish. Set aside and put the halved apple inside the cavity.
Add the onions to the casserole and fry for 10 minutes to soften. Return the chicken to the pan and add the herbs and cinnamon.
Pour in the cider and bubble for a few minutes, then add the stock. Bring to the boil, then cover and transfer to the oven to cook for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, heat a little oil and the butter, and fry the rest of the apples with the sugar until golden and caramelised. Add the sultanas and toss in the buttery juices. Add to the casserole about halfway through the cooking time.
Remove the lid of the casserole and turn up the oven to 220°C. Cook for 10 minutes more to brown the top of the chicken; then serve.
Recipe taken from Basque by José Pizzaro
In Basque, José Pizarro shows readers how to create some of the best-loved dishes from the Basque Country at home. He will dispel the myth that creating tapas and traditional Spanish fare is scary and show you how to take the great experience of being in the little bars of San Sebastián into your own kitchen. The food of this region is wonderful to share with your family and friends – but it’s also about fun, informality and not being a slave to your stove! Set to the backdrop of the stunning views of San Sebastián and the rest of Basque Country, you’ll really feel like you’re on a magical holiday in Spain. José has also put together some menu and drink suggestions to help you plan, shop, cook and, most importantly, enjoy this wonderful way of eating and socialising.
You can purchase Basque at cooked.com.
Published by Hardie Grant Books.
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