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Cazuela de Pollo: A Comforting Spanish Casserole

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Cazuela de Pollo, or Chicken Casserole, is a beloved dish in Spanish cuisine that combines tender chicken with a variety of vegetables and aromatic herbs, all simmered together to create a flavorful and hearty meal. This comforting casserole reflects the essence of Mediterranean cooking, with its emphasis on fresh ingredients and robust flavors. Whether prepared for a family dinner or a gathering with friends, Cazuela de Pollo offers a satisfying taste of Spain’s culinary traditions.

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in and skin-on
  • 4 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup diced tomatoes (fresh or canned)
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish

Instructions:

  1. Sear the Chicken:
    • In a large Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken thighs and drumsticks with salt and pepper. Sear the chicken pieces until golden brown on all sides, about 5-6 minutes per side. Remove the chicken from the skillet and set aside.
  2. Sauté the Vegetables:
    • In the same skillet, add chopped onion and diced bell peppers. Sauté until the vegetables are softened and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant.
  3. Combine Ingredients:
    • Stir in diced tomatoes, chicken broth, and dry white wine. Add smoked paprika and dried oregano. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
  4. Simmer the Casserole:
    • Return the seared chicken pieces to the skillet, nestling them into the vegetable mixture. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid, and let the casserole simmer gently for 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Stir occasionally and add more chicken broth if needed to maintain desired consistency.
  5. Finish and Serve:
    • Once the chicken is cooked through, remove from heat. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley before serving.
  6. Presentation:
    • Serve Cazuela de Pollo hot, straight from the skillet or transferred to a serving dish. This dish pairs well with crusty bread, rice, or potatoes to soak up the delicious sauce.

Variations and Serving Suggestions:

  • Additions: Enhance the casserole with additional vegetables such as carrots, peas, or mushrooms for added texture and flavor.
  • Spice it Up: For a spicier version, add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a chopped chili pepper along with the vegetables.

Conclusion: Cazuela de Pollo exemplifies the comforting and wholesome nature of Spanish cuisine, combining tender chicken with a medley of vegetables and aromatic herbs. This casserole is perfect for bringing family and friends together, offering a taste of Spain’s culinary heritage with every bite. By following this recipe, you can recreate a classic Spanish dish in your own kitchen, enjoying the rich flavors and hearty goodness of Cazuela de Pollo.

Enjoy the warmth and flavors of Cazuela de Pollo, and savor the delightful combination of chicken and vegetables simmered to perfection in a savory sauce, creating a memorable dining experience that celebrates the essence of Spanish comfort food!

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Written by Robert Zelesky

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