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Chilindron is a Spanish dish that is similar to the Italian version of chicken cacciatore. This recipe takes on a Spanish flair, leaving out the flour and capers instead adding bits of cured meat like Serrano ham with the smoky hot and sweet flavors of two kinds of paprika.
Traditionally, chilindron (which originated in the Aragón region of Spain) is made with chicken or lamb. The tangy red reduction sauce is made using fresh tomatoes and red bell pepper, lots of garlic and sautéed onion. You can top with a few olives for added flavor, sprinkle with some fresh bay leaves, thyme or parsley. We think you’ll find this dish an authentically delicious way to enjoy Spanish cuisine.
To rehydrate the dried mushrooms: place the mushrooms in a medium bowl and cover with room temperature water. Let them soak until softened (about 20 – 30 minutes). Keep the mushrooms submerged, adding more water if needed as they expand. Drain the mushrooms and set them aside.
Rinse the chicken and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces. Season with salt and pepper and set aside for 15 – 20 minutes to marinate.
Peel and chop the onion.
Peel and finely chop the garlic.
If using cured meat, dice the meat and set aside.
Slice open the bell pepper vertically from top to bottom, and use a sharp paring knife to cut away the pith and seeds. Chop the bell pepper.
Fill a small saucepan with water and bring to boil.
In a bowl, prepare ice water.
Using a sharp knife, score the bottom of each tomato with an X. Using a slotted spoon or ladle, submerge one tomato, bottom side up, in the boiling water for 15 seconds, or until the skin begins to peel back from the incision mark. Transfer the tomato into ice water until cooled, then allow to drain. Repeat process for each tomato.
Using a paring knife, begin peeling back the skin from the scored lines. The skin should slip right off. Cut tomatoes in half horizontally. Use your fingers or a spoon to scoop out seeds over a bowl. Discard seeds.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high. Cook chicken pieces in a single layer batches, careful to not overcrowd pot. Brown meat on both sides, cooking one side for 3 – 5 minutes before turning over and cooking another 3 – 5 minutes.
Use tongs to transfer browned chicken to a plate and set aside.
Add small amount of oil to the skillet if needed for sautéing vegetables. Then add the following:
serrano (or other cured meat)
Sauté over medium-high, stirring frequently, until vegetables soften (about 8 – 10 minutes).
Cook for another 10 minutes and then reduce the heat to low. Add the chicken back into the skillet. Spoon sauce over the chicken and then cover and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and tender. Lift lid occasionally to stir chilindron and check on meat.
Once the meat is done, use a slotted spoon to transfer chicken into serving bowls. Pick out the bay leaf and discard. If sauce is still very soupy, turn heat up to medium-high and cook down for a few minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce and thicken. Ladle sauce over chicken and serve warm.
Optionally, top with whole olives and your choice of fresh herbs.