Basque Chicken
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This recipe is a spice merchant's take on a French classic.

5 servings


  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 5 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 medium red onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 6 cloves garlic, chopped small
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup medium sherry
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped into large chunks
  • 3 carrots, cut into small sticks, then cut on a bias
  • 1 1/2 cups green beans (or haricot vert), cut on a bias
  • 3 bell peppers (1 red,1 yellow, 1 orange), roasted and sliced*
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Smoked Spanish Hot Paprika, plus more to garnish
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Mediterranean thyme, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 tsp. Ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, chilled and divided
  • 1/2 cup cubed jambon (or country ham)
  • 1 cup dried French green lentils
  • Italian black truffle sea salt (optional for garnish)*

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It's helpful to have all the ingredients prepped, measured out, and ready to go next to the stovetop when you start this recipe.

*To roast bell peppers: Char over an open flame or under the broiler. Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic to steam. Once cool, charred skin should peel right off.


Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or similar. Add chicken and sear, skin side down, for 3 min.; turn and cook an additional 2 min. on opposite side. Remove chicken from pan and set aside. Add onions and garlic and saute until tender (almost browned) about 4 to 5 min. Remove onions and garlic from pan and set aside. Add chicken broth, sherry, and tomato sauce to pan. Bring to a boil and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Add tomatoes, carrots, green beans, and roasted peppers. Stir to incorporate. Add Smoked Spanish Hot Paprika, thyme, 1 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper. Add seared chicken and sauteed onions and garlic back to pan. Cover and simmer over low heat for 25 to 30 min.

Meanwhile, in a separate pot, bring 4 cups water to a boil. Add lentils and season with salt. Cover and simmer over low heat for 18 to 20 min. or until lentils are tender. Drain lentils, return to pot, and stir in 1 Tbsp. butter. Cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, in a cast-iron skillet, brown 1 Tbsp. butter then add cubed ham. Sear for 2 min. then stir to brown ham on all sides, 6 to 7 min. total.

With 5 min. remaining on Dutch oven timer, remove chicken, checking temperature to make sure it registers at least 170 degrees. Return lid to finish cooking vegetables for 5 min. Remove vegetables from pot with a slotted spoon so broth remains. Add browned ham cubes to broth and simmer over medium-high heat so mixture reduces to make a sauce. You can add remaining 2 Tbsp. of chilled butter to broth to silken the sauce.


To plate the dish: Place 1/3 cup lentils in the center of a plate. Add a healthy portion of vegetables (about 1 cup) off to the side of the lentils. Place 1 chicken thigh on top of both lentils and vegetables. Then ladle 1/4 cup of sauce, with ham, over the top of the chicken. Garnish with Smoked Spanish Hot Paprika and truffle salt. Enjoy with a great syrah, or pinot noir.

Chris Curtis



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