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A little while ago, I picked up one of those little Flavour Shots that you sometimes see in the shop. This one was a Spanish chicken flavour that contained lots of paprika and other spices. It was very delicious but unfortunately, I never saw it again. A debate over some chicken breasts led us to decide to have a go at making a simple version of the recipe ourselves and try cooking it in the slow cooker to ensure the meat was soft and well flavoured.
Paprika is a very versatile spice that is used in many dishes. But ask my husband Robert (the chef) and he will always favour smoked paprika over any other type. I thought I would look up what makes the difference in the flavours and was surprised to learn there are quite a few different types of paprika.
For starters, there’s Hungarian paprika which comes in six different varieties ranging from delicate Különleges through to Eros, which is the hottest. Most of them come from the south of the country and play a huge part in Hungarian favourites like goulash and chicken paprikash.
In Spain, paprika is known as pimento and there are three main varieties – dulce being the sweetest, agriculce in the middle and picante as the hottest. Spanish paprika uses a smoking process to create the spice, resulting in a different flavour to Hungarian paprika. So, I guess that’s why the original shot mix was called Spanish Chicken and that’s why I’ve named my recipe much the same.
We paired the chicken with a simple Parmesan couscous but you could use almost anything – a nice potato dish would go well or a rice dish. Anything that has simple flavours or matches in with the paprika flavour will work as a balance to the chicken. You could also cook it in the oven if you wanted to cut down time, although the chicken wouldn’t go as pull-apart as it does in the slow cooker – that’s part of the slow cooker’s charm.
- 2 chicken breasts diced
- Olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- Smoked paprika to taste
- Onion salt to taste
- Cajun spice to taste
- 1 tbsp tomato puree or more to mix in slow cooker
- 1/2 tsp cornflour + water to bind
- 100 grams couscous
- 125 ml water boiling
- 1 knob butter
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Parmesan as required
- 2 leaves fresh basil
Marinade chicken overnight in oil with garlic cloves (halves), spices and onion salt – add as much as you like to get the strength you like
Add tomato puree then put mixture in slow cooker – make sure you have enough to cover the bottom of the slow cooker dish. You can add any vegetables you like at this stage such as peppers, mushrooms or onions
Cook in the slow cooker for 2-3 hours on high then on low until just before meal time
Remove the chicken and add the sauce to a pan. Add cornflour and bring to the boil to thicken the sauce. Add the chicken back to the mix and put into an oven dish for 10 minutes while making the couscous.
To make the couscous, add 100grams dried couscous to 100ml water then add around 25ml more once mixed. Add a knob of butter, salt and pepper.
Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 5 minutes. Stir in parmesan to taste and serve beside chicken.
You can use any flavour couscous you like in the dish - we just love the gentle flavour of the parmesan and basil with the strongly flavoured chicken
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