I love heat. Ripping hot Thai salads, numbing Ma La dishes from China, fiery salsas, dishes from the southern Indian subcontinent that make you sweat. I know not everyone agrees with my tates, and some of you won’t be interested in what’s essentially a fiery hot take on the classic pan simmered dishes like marsala or piccata. But I find this fiery hot pepper chicken a lot of fun – and it’s fast and easy to prepare.
This dish is spicy. And if you want to, it can be made to be very spicy. It’s a quick, tasty dish that can be tweaked to fit with almost any mediterranean cuisine by adding to, or swapping out the oregano. Add a pinch of cinnamon for an eastern mediterranean flavor, or swap out the vinegar for lemon and add cumin and ginger for a more north African bent – even touch it up with a bit of harissa.
The technique is the same as that used for Marsala or Piccata – chicken is pounded flat, dredged in flour, quickly pan fried, and then simmered in a richly flavored sauce. Unlike those dishes – which are wine based – the simmering liquid here is a combination of hot chili infused tomato, chicken stock, and pureed roasted peppers. It delivers a spicy vegetal kick that you can tweak to your own preferences.
Fiery Hot Pepper ChickenCourse: MainCuisine: American, MediterraneanDifficulty: Easy
A quick and spicy chicken simmered in a spicy roasted pepper sauce.
- Working one at a time, place chicken between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or side of a knife until an even thickness of between ¼ and ½ inch.
- Season the pounded pieces on both sides with salt, and dredge each piece in flour.
- Place on a wire rack on a sheet pan, and refrigerate 15-20 minutes for the flour to hydrate while continuing prep.
- Add the chicken stock, vinegar, and roasted red pepper to the container of a blender and process until smooth.
- Peel and mince the garlic, then add ½ tsp salt and using the side of a knife, crush into a fine paste.
- Finely mince the oregano.
- Add olive oil to a saute pan over medium heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, and working in batches, cook the chicken pieces for approximately 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned.
- Set the chicken aside.
- Add tomato paste, chili flake, oregano, and garlic paste to the pan along with the oil and fat that has rendered. Cook for approximately two minutes over medium heat, or until the mixture begins to darken.
- Add the pepper puree/chicken stock mixture to the pan and return to a simmer.
- Return the chicken to the pan and cook at a low simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked though and the internal temperature has reached 165° F.
- Serve with couscous, pasta, rice pilaf, or any mediterranean style starch.