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SPANISH CHICKEN AND MASHED POTATOES - COOK'S NOTES
One evening we passed by a rather ram shackle restaurant which was packed out with locals. It was large for a restaurant and we assumed it was serving good local fare so we called in for a meal. To our surprise it had only one main ingredient on the menu, chicken! Large chicken, small chicken, chicken with salad, chicken with fries etc. etc. We like chicken so although our original expectations were not met we decided to sample this very obviously well-liked restaurant.
The chicken served here was absolutely delicious. On the opposite side of the road the restaurant had opened up a very popular chicken takeaway and hundreds (truly hundreds) of whole chickens were being cooked on skewers over an open barbecue.
I have a particular dislike of Kentucky Fried Chicken meals because the chickens are watery, lack flavour and just don't do justice to this delicious meat. But at this roadside Spanish restaurant the chicken was firm, full of flavour and cooked to perfection. No (finger-lickin) coating of secret herb mixes was needed, the Spanish chicken was best sampled by itself.
This was an outright, though unintended, advert that free-range organic chickens are a thousand times better than battery, antibiotic-fed chicken, and roasted in the open over a barbecue adds even more to the flavour.
So, getting back to our simple Spanish chicken recipe, choose the best quality chicken you can afford and your taste buds will definitely be rewarded. Our Spanish chicken is cooked with traditional pimenton or Spanish paprika. We have used hot smoked paprika (la vera picante) which adds a touch of heat to the chicken but normal pimenton will do just fine.
The other touch of Spain in this chicken recipe is the white wine. For real authenticity we would suggest Fino sherry but that would turn a reasonably priced recipe into something far more expensive.
The mashed potatoes are a simple but delicious addition to the chicken and they can be used to accompany many other meat dishes.
At this point start cooking the potatoes in lightly boiling water which has some salt added. Let the potatoes cook for 10 minutes before going any further with the recipe.
Remove the bay leaf and the garlic cloves from the frying pan and save for later.
Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Cook gently for five more minutes.