Chicken with Chourico and Sherry

There are few things that I enjoy more than fixing dinner for surprise guests so when my sister and niece called to say that they were on their way from Long Island back to Rochester and could stop in about 2 hours later I leapt into action. What to make, I thought. Well, there is a pork loin roast in the freezer and about a dozen Cornish game hens. I settled on the game hens. My first thought was to thaw them in cold water then split and roast them. After an hour in the cold water it was clear that they would never be ready in time. That left thawing in the microwave. The problem with that is that parts of the birds, especially the wings, come out cooked.  So I decided to make a casserole instead. The recipe I adapted from Joanna Farrow & Jacqueline Clark, The Mediterranean Cookbook (New York: Lorenz Books, 2004). When the chickens thawed I removed the giblets, cut out the back and wing tips, then quartered them. The giblets went into a stock pot while the backs and wing tips went into my stock parts bag in the freezer. And this is how I cooked them. I served the casserole simply with Spanish potatoes.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 Cornish game hens, about 1¾ pounds each, or 1 chicken, quartered
  • 2 tsp. or so paprika, preferably Spanish smoked paprika or pimentón
  • Olive oil
  • 2 small onions, halved lengthwise and sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 chourico sausage, about 6 ounces, sliced crosswise
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ¼ cup dry sherry
  • Salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Coat the chicken pieces with paprika. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat then pour in about ⅛ inch of olive oil.  When hot add the chicken pieces, working in batches, and brown on both sides. Remove to an oven-proof casserole leaving as much oil as possible behind.

Fry the onions in the skillet for about 3 minutes or until just soften. Add the garlic and chourico and continue to fry for another 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, bay leaves, and sherry. Bring to a boil and pour over the chicken in the casserole. Deglaze with pan with a bit of water or chicken stock and add to the casserole. Cover and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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