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  • Writer's picturealisonbonifacy

Basque Chicken Stew (Poulet Basquaise)

Updated: Apr 8, 2021

The Basque region of France (along the border of Spain) is one of my favorite places in France and makes me think of sun, bright colors, a relaxed way of living and vibrant food.

Piment d’Espelette is the spice that adds a kick to most of the local, traditional dishes and is made from a chili pepper only found in that region.

This recipe for Poulet Basquaise (Basque chicken) is light and full of flavor. I call it a ‘stew’ because as the vegetables and chicken cook, they produce liquid that becomes a lovely, flavorful broth. Typically, the chicken and vegetables are served over rice to absorb the broth. Since piment d’Espelette is hard to find outside France, substitute ground Cayenne pepper or paprika for less heat.

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Basque Chicken Stew (Poulet Basquaise)

Servings: 4-6

Active time: 40 minutes

Cooking time: about 60-70 minutes

2 medium yellow or white onions

3 medium red, orange or yellow peppers

3 garlic cloves

Olive oil

1 small can whole peeled tomatoes (14.5 ounces/411 g)

2 boneless, skin-on chicken breasts

2 chicken legs (use thighs or 2 more breasts instead if you prefer)

1 ½ tablespoons (20 g) butter

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or replace with ground cayenne pepper or paprika)

½ cup dry white wine

2 bay leaves and a pinch of thyme (or 1 bouquet garni)

Prepare the vegetables. Peel the onions, cut them in half lengthwise and then in ¼-inch

slices. Remove the seeds from the peppers and cut them in ½-inch slices. Peel and chop the garlic cloves.

Preheat the oven to 320° F (160° C).

In a large Dutch oven*, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for 2 minutes so they get a little color. Lower the heat to medium and add the sliced peppers and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and stir in 1 teaspoon salt and the can of whole tomatoes, breaking up the tomatoes a bit.

Heat the butter with a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Once the butter is bubbling, add the pieces of chicken and sear on each side for about 3-4 minutes to get a golden-brown color. Lower the heat to medium, sprinkle with a dash of salt and the ground cayenne pepper (or piment d’Espelette/paprika) and pour in the white wine. Let simmer for about 3 minutes so some of the wine evaporates.

Nestle the chicken over the vegetables in the Dutch oven. Pour the wine and pan juices from

the frying pan over the chicken. Place the bay leaves and pinch of thyme in the Dutch oven. Put in the oven for about 60 minutes if you are using chicken breasts and legs, 40 minutes if you are just using breasts or breasts and thighs. Check that the chicken is cooked through before serving. Serve hot over rice or bulgur. Reheat on the stovetop if made ahead.

*If you do not have a Dutch oven, you may use a large pot. Instead of putting it in the oven, cover the pot and let cook on the stovetop over medium heat for 40-60 minutes. You will need to stir it occasionally so the vegetables do not stick to the bottom.

And bon appétit!

Based on Véronique Bawol's recipe at Cuisine Elegante

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