A simple one-pan recipe for low-carb paprika chicken with tomatoes, green beans and olives
8 chicken thighs and 8 drumsticks
2 Tbsp (30 ml) sunflower or olive oil, for frying
3 large leeks or 6 small ones (about 300 g)
1 x 500 g punnet ripe cherry tomatoes
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar
½ cup (125 ml) water
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
½ cup (125 ml) white wine
1 x 410 g tin chopped Italian tomatoes
a pinch of sugar
2 bay leaves
a large sprig of thyme
salt and milled black pepper, to taste
1 tsp (5 ml) smoked hot paprika
2 tsp (10 ml) sweet paprika
1 x 300 g punnet slim green beans, topped, tailed and cut in half crossways
¾ cup (180 ml) pitted Calamata olives, or a mixture of green and black olives
4 Tbps (60 ml) cream
Trim any visible fat off the chicken pieces and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large shallow pan, over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken pieces, skin-side down and in two batches, for 4-5 minutes, until the skin is crisp and golden. Take your time about this. Don’t overcrowd the pan, and resist the temptation to poke or stir them – the skin will loosen from the bottom of the pan when it’s ready.
Remove the chicken pieces – they will still be raw on their insides – and set aside on a plate.
While the chicken is frying, prepare the leeks by trimming off the dark-green upperparts and making a long horizontal slit three-quarters of the way through their lengths. Fan out the ‘pages’ of the leeks under a cold running tap to rinse away any grit hiding in the outer leaves. Now cut them into thick slices and set aside.
Put the cherry tomatoes, vinegar and water into a liquidiser (or a food processor fitted with a metal blade) and whizz to a fairly fine pink purée. If you don’t have a liquidizer, chop them finely. Set aside.
Drain all but two teaspoons of fat from the pan, add the leeks and fry gently for 3-4 minutes, or until slightly softened and beginning to take on a little colour. Add the garlic and fry for another minute, without allowing it to brown.
Turn up the heat and pour in the wine. As it bubbles furiously, use a wooden spatula to scrape away the golden residue on the bottom of the pan so it dissolves into the wine. Tip in the reserved tomato/vinegar/water mixture, the tin of tomatoes, the sugar, bay leaves and thyme sprig. Cook over medium-high heat, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes, or until the mixture has reduced by a third and has thickened (see picture below).
You can tell when the sauce is right by dragging a wooden spoon or spatula across the pan: if it forms a channel that closes reluctantly, it’s ready.
Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Add the two paprikas and return the chicken pieces to the pan, skin-sides up, along with any juices that have accumulated beneath them. Cover with a tilted lid and braise over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through to the bone.
Now add the green beans, olives and cream, give the pan a good shake, and simmer, covered, for a further 4-5 minutes, or until the beans are bright green and just cooked through.
Serve immediately with (if you’re on a low-carb regime) Cauliflower Mash or (if you’re not) normal creamy mash, or rice.
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Recipe and photo copyright – Jane-Anne Hobbs. See more recipes at her delicious food blog: www.scrumptious.co.za