Spanish Garlic Chicken

One of my friends is planning a Thanksgiving getaway to Barcelona and was asking if there were any ‘must-see’ items.  I dredged up some photos of my 2008 Barcelona trip to show him all the Gaudi-influenced architecture, specifically the 1000’s of photos I compulsively took of the constantly-in-renovation, Sagrada Familia.

One of the last photos was of a street-side tapas meal I had, Garlic Chicken being at the center. Instant recall of how much I liked the made-in-Spain version and I could not get it out of my head. Mexican and Vietnamese came and went that week but Garlic Chicken was still on my mind.

Only one solution in a city with many Spanish tapas venues, none serving Garlic Chicken –  make it!


  • 1.5 lb Chicken Thighs, sliced 1/2″
  • 2 T Smoked Paprika
  • 1 t Salt
  • 1 t Ground Black Pepper
  • 1/4 – 1/3 C Olive Oil
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 5 Cloves Garlic, pressed
  • 1 Onion, sliced
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
  • 3/4 C Chicken Stock
  • 3/4 C Fino Sherry
  • 4 Sprigs Thyme
  • 4 Bay Leaves
  • 1/4 C Parsley, torn


Mix the smoked paprika, salt and pepper together then coat the chicken slices with the mixture. You’ll want to do this by hand, rubbing the mixture in until the chicken slices are completely coated. Wrap the coated chicken in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.

In a large pan heat the olive oil over medium, add the sliced garlic. Cook, stirring constantly until golden, remove garlic with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Unwrap the chicken. Turn heat up to medium high and in the same pan add the chicken. Cook 3-4 minutes on one side, flip, then 3-4 more minutes. There’s no need to cook the chicken completely at this point, that will happen later.  Remove chicken, set aside.

Add onions and peppers to the same pan, adding a little more oil if necessary. Stir fry until onion and pepper slices are soft, about 3-4 minutes, Add pressed garlic, stir for another minute. Reduce heat to medium low. Add sherry, stock, thyme, bay leaves, reserved sliced garlic and chicken. Stir to incorporate then cook covered for 10 minutes. Uncover, stir then cook for another 10 minutes.

IMG_2565 IMG_2567


This is typically served tapas style with several other items. I wanted more of a meal so I whipped up some Saffron Rice and Garlic Peas to accompany. Saffron Rice, for me, is just adding a pinch of Saffron threads and a pat of butter to my usual rice cooking method. Garlic Peas, for me, is just stir frying peas with 1T olive oil, 1 T butter, 1 clove pressed garlic, 1 t ground black pepper.

Tasting Post Mortem

I follow the ‘never too much garlic’ mantra, so too me this had a good but not overwhelming garlic-dominant aroma and flavour. Smoked paprika was a close second and definitely the garlic and paprika worked together.

Saffron Rice on its own was good but completely irrelevant here since the garlic-smoked paprika combination overwhelmed it’s subtly. Garlic Peas on the other hand were a good, slightly sweet contrast to the otherwise savoury flavours. Next time I’m thinking swap out the rice for something more substantial like thyme-roasted potatoes.



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