Category Archives: Spanish

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!

Ingredients

  • 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

Prepare

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.

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Deliver

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.

 

Mobile Spanish Omelete

“See, if I had something that I could eat for breakfast while walking to the light rail then it eliminates that 10 minutes it takes for me to make the oatmeal as well as the clean up time at the end of the week when I do all the dishes and at the end of the week that’s almost an hour more  I could be sleeping! Too bad we don’t know some smart people who could make something like that!”

So goes the long winded logic of BreakUp Guy, which was a flimsy attempt to challenge me to come up with something that was a walking breakfast. I really should tell him that type of psychology only works on people who don’t know its being applied. Naw, where’s the fun in that?

Actually I liked the idea of a omelet that could be eaten while walking since that’s my mode of transport to work. I took inspiration from Torta Española, the Spanish potato omelet but modified it a bit to include some veggies.

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Veggies

  • 1/4 C + 2 T Olive Oil
  • 4 Small Potatoes, boiled, cooled, sliced
  • 1 Red Onion, chopped
  • 1/4 C Green Onion. chopped
  • 3 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1 T Smoked Paprika
  • 1 t Seasoned Salt (pick one)
  • 1 t Black Pepper

With the 2T olive oil, fry up the onion till brown, add garlic till brown, toss in remainder minus potato, shut off the heat and stir a few times. Let cool, put aside. With the 1/4 C olive oil, fry up the sliced potatoes till browned and crisp on both sides. Drain, set aside.

Egg Mixture

  • 4 Eggs
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 1/4-1/2 C Mahon Cheese, grated
  • 1 t Smoked Paprika
  • 1 t Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Veggies set aside

Whisk up veggies (minus potatoes), eggs, egg whites, cheese, paprika, pepper. Oil down a muffin tin (large). Put a few potatoes in the bottom of each muffin tin container. Top with egg mixture. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.

 

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I’m usually my own worst critic but these are good. So good, in fact, BreakUp Guy isn’t getting any.

Andalucia

IMG_1083Th-upSpain has a passion for just about everything: food, music, dance, architecture. I’ve been there and loved the experience but continuing to travel to Spain to experience these passions is cost-prohibitive, so I continue to look for surrogates locally. Andalucia comes close, excelling in some areas, while being flat in others.

I noticed the downtown tapas venue on a walk back from neighboring Phoenicia. I then remembered a coworker’s raves from weeks earlier and thought – must “research”.

Atmosphere

IMG_1093Open, heavy wood tables and high bar benches, warm tones, lively. Like all open, indoor areas filled with people, its sometimes difficult to hear against the background levels. But Andalucia is not about quiet conversation, its more about replicating the energy and experience you would find in Spain. The overwhelming reason to come here is for the live flamenco – 830-1030p – which for me, dictates the atmosphere. The performers are fantastic, the is crowd energetic, transforming Andalucia into a more of a performing arts venue with a food & drink bonus.

Service

Courteous,  prompt and otherwise good but there were some missteps with drink orders, likely due to the noise level.

Food

Some wins

Sangria: Too sweet for me. The base flavors were spot on with the red wine giving the drink its depth; present orange flavors added the requisite citrus notes. But I think either they are mixing a store-bought sangria or adding sugar to their own brew. Or maybe they were heavy handed with the fruit juices, possibly grape or apple. Not bad but not the best.

Patatas Bravas: Ah, the quintessential tapas plate. These were good but constructed differently than their traditional counterparts. The potatoes themselves are spicy, heat level rising only to mildly amusing with aioli piped in criss-cross pattern over the lot. It works well from a flavor perspective but the presentation was uninspired.

Albondigas Marroquis: Good but the advertised spicy, cumin pepper sauce was weak on both spice and  cumin and I was actually looking forward to the spicy, cumin pepper punch to break up the sweetness of the sangria.

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Price

Tapas range between $5-15. My two tapas and two drinks were under $30, which I considered reasonable.

I recommend Andalucia but I would book an 8p table on Saturday and consider live flamenco the highlight while the food and drink, an accessory.

Dinner: 18 May 2013

Andalucia | NW Corner of Polk & Caroline | Houston TX 77002