Chicken Basquaise with slow-roasted tomatoes, orange gremolata and saffron rice

A recipe from Stephen Markwick

Basque dishes typically include tomatoes and peppers and so are best made in summer when both are in season. This version comes from Stephen’s mentor George Perry-Smith (from the Hole in the Wall, Bath) and is updated with more modernly-available ingredients like chorizo. You can use chicken pieces but Stephen likes the look of a whole chicken in a pot – you get wonderful amalgamation of flavours and aromas!

Chicken BasquaiseServes 6


For the main dish

  • 1 medium to large free-range chicken (about 1.8Kg)
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 6 chunky pieces of Spanish ham such as Serrano about 75g in total (but you can use streaky bacon)
  • 2 large onions, peeled and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 3 small hot cooking chorizo sausages, cut in half
  • 1 tsp sweet pimenton or paprika
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 dsp tomato purée
  • 250ml dry white wine
  • 300ml chicken stock
  • 2 small to medium sized red peppers, quartered and de-seeded
  • 2 small to medium sized yellow peppers, quartered and de-seeded
  • Grated zest and juice of 1 orange
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve

  • 3 large tomatoes
  • 40g almonds, pan-fried with a pinch of pimento
  • Garlic sliced
  • Basil leaves

For the orange grenolata

  • Handful of flat-leaf or curly parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Grated rind of an orange

For the saffron rice

  • 250g basmati long grain rice or Spanish paella rice
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 bayleaf
  • Salt and pepper
  • 375ml water


  1. Season the chicken then brown on all sides in a deep casserole or frying pan. Set aside. Heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the casserole, add the Spanish ham, onions and garlic and cook over a low heat. Once the onions start to colour add the chorizo and stir in the pimento, saffron and tomato purée.
  2. Put the chicken back in the pan breast side down, then add the white wine and stock and bring up to a simmer. Place the quartered peppers around the side of the chicken; add the orange zest and juice. Mix in well then check the seasoning, adding a little salt and pepper if needed.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half, put a slice of garlic and a basil leaf on each half, splash with olive oil, then put in the oven abnd bake at the same time as the chicken
  4. Put a lid on the casserole or pan and cook in a low oven (150°C/Gas Mk3) for approximately 1 hour or until you easily insert the point of a sharp knife in the thickest part of the leg.
  5. When the chicken is cooked take it out of the casserole along with the vegetables, chorizo and ham and reduce the sauce a little until slightly thickened. Recheck the seasoning.

For the saffron rice:

  1. Cook the onion in 3 tbsp oil until beginning to soften Add a pinch of saffron, the bayleaf salt and pepper. Tip in the rice and stir. Bring the water to a boil, pour over the rice and stir.
  2. Place greaseproof paper on top and then put a lid on the pan. And put into a hot over at 200°C/Gas Mk6) for ten minutes or until the liquid is absorbed.
  3. Check whether the rice is cooked – if not leave to stand for a minute in the pan.
  4. Adjust the seasoning and fork through. If not using immediately, turn out on to a tray to cool. Reheat by adding a splash of water over the rice then cover with foil before putting into the oven.

To serve:

  1. Take the legs off the chicken, remove the drumstick, then cut the thigh into two, taking the bone out first. Take each breast off whole and carve into three.
  2. For each portion,  serve out:
    a breast and leg
    a piece each of red and yellow pepper
    a piece of chorizo
    a piece of ham
    some of the onion and garlic
    half a roast tomato
  3. Sauce:
    Mix together the parsley, chopped garlic and the orange rind to make the gremolata. Sprinkle this over each portion along with a few of the toasted almonds.
  4. Serve along with saffron rice