Delia’s Basque Chicken

This is a great recipe.  I first tasted it when our friends, Steve and Al, came to stay.  They made it for us one night and it was so good I asked them for the recipe.

Basque chicken, in its many guises, is a traditional dish from the border regions of Spain and South Western France.  It is an easy one-pan dish (which I love) and extremely tasty.  If you don’t have a favourite version, do give this one a go.  You won’t be disappointed.  It is easy enough for an every day meal and special enough for guests.

The first time I made it, I used Steve and Al’s recipe then I got curious as to its source.  I found it online.  It is from Delia Smith’s The Delia Collection: Chicken.  Steve’s recipe was slightly modified from the original.  I will give you the original version and then suggested amendments. This type of recipe is very forgiving so feel free to play around with it to suit your tastes.

With the additional rice, the recipe will serve 6.  Tonight was the third night in a row we have had it.


  • 1.75 kg chicken, jointed into 8 pieces (When cutting up a chicken, I usually take out the backbone and cut off the wings.  I freeze the back bone until I have a decent stash and then make stock with them.  I keep the wings and when I have enough, I make this recipe.  This time I had four Marylands in the freezer so I used them. [I separated the legs from the thighs]. Steve prefers boneless thighs.  If that is your preference, use them.)
  • Basmati rice, measured to the 225ml level in a measuring jug*  (The original recipe called for brown Basmati rice.)
  • 275 mls chicken stock*
  • 170 mls dry white wine*
  • ½ large orange, peeled and cut into wedges.  I used a full one which was not particularly large.
  • 1 level tsp chopped fresh thyme (Steve used 1 tbs of parsley)
  • 50g olives (I used a few more)
  • salt and black pepper
  • 2 large red capsicums
  • 1 very large or 2 medium red onions
  • olive oil
  • 150g chorizo sausage, skinned and sliced (I used a half a sausage.  I didn’t weigh it.)
  • 50g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 level tbs sun-dried tomato paste.  You can buy this from any supermarket.  If you don’t want to buy it especially for this recipe, just use ordinary tomato paste.
  • ½ tsp hot paprika.

*I doubled the rice as we are both big fans.  If you are doubling the rice, double the liquid too.


  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Slice the capsicums in half lengthwise and remove the seeds and pith, then slice each half into strips.
  3. Peel the onion and slice into strips of approximately the same size as the capsicum.
  4. Chop the dried tomatoes.
  5. Heat a couple of glugs of olive oil in a casserole dish (an electric fry pan also works well for this), brown the chicken pieces, then set aside.
  6. Add the onion and capsicum and cook on moderately high heat for about 5 minutes.
  7. Add the chorizo, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic and toss these around for a minute or two.
  8. Stir in the rice and, when the grains have a good coating of oil, add the sun-dried tomato paste, paprika and chopped thyme.
  9. Pour in the stock and wine.  Season with salt and pepper.  As soon as the liquid boils, turn the heat right down.
  10. Place the chicken on top (it’s important to keep the rice down in the liquid).  Place the wedges of orange and olives in amongst the chicken.
  11. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and cook over the gentlest possible heat for about 50 minutes or until the rice is cooked but still retains a little bite.

Alternatively, cook in a pre-heated oven (180°C) for 1 hour.