Saturday, September 15, 2018

Basque Chicken Stew paired with Black Wine #FrenchWinophiles

This flavorful chicken stew from the Basque region is quick enough to enjoy as a weeknight meal yet elegant enough to proudly serve to guests.  Served over rice scented with turmeric it makes a delicious one dish meal.

I paired it with a deep, dark, dry red wine made with Malbec grapes from the Cahors.  Join me and the French Winophiles as we explore this region and the wines it offers...

Our friend, Jill, of L'Occasion invited us to join her in exploring Cahors.  Are you familiar with Cahors?  I wasn't at all but Jill explained that this area provided us with the first wines using Malbec.  I am familiar with Malbec, normally seeing bottles from Argentina.

Malbec is one of the grapes allowed to be blended into Bordeaux wines and most of the Malbec in France is grown in the Cahors region. Malbec is known as the "black" wine.  This is because it pours a dark, inky color.

When Jill first announced this theme I googled to see what I could learn about Cahors.  Cahors is a peninsula in Basque, surrounded on three sides by the Lot River.

As luck would have it, my latest edition of Cuisine at Home was featuring a Basque Chicken Stew that sounded amazing.  I knew right away that this was what I was going to pair with the Cahors Wine.

I put this stew on the meal plan, pulled some chicken thighs out of the freezer and I was ready to rock.

Or so I thought......

Regular readers of this blog know that I live in a very small town in Michigan.  I LOVE my small town except for when I am looking for wine.  I went to three different stores looking for a Malbec from Cahors, the grocers, the liquor/wine shop in town and another wine shop in a neighboring town that is normally where I hit pay dirt.  

No luck.....the owner of the wine shop, Keg and Kone, told me he would order up a bottle from his distributor.  He is wonderful like that.

I turned those chicken thighs into a fried chicken dinner and put the stew onto the back burner. Well, not literally. But in a manner of speaking.....

On Monday, I had to take a ride into the city for a doctor's appointment.  After the appointment I was able to stop into the International Market where I located this bottle of Malbec from Chateau de Haute-Serre in Cahors priced at $25.  I snatched it up, grabbed some more chicken thighs and headed home.

Tuesday, about an hour before I wanted to serve dinner, I diced up the chicken and seasoned it liberally with sweet paprika, salt and pepper.

As with any good stew, this one is made by layering flavors. Start by browning the chicken followed with sauteeing the aromatics in olive oil.   Deglaze the pan using a good dry sherry and then add in your braising liquid and veggies.  Because this is made with chicken, the braising time is only about 10-15 minutes.

Cuisine at Home recommended serving this with a Saffron rice that contained green olives.  My husband is not an olive lover so I deleted those.  I also noted that the recipe said you could substitute Turmeric for the Saffron.  I had never heard of this before but we have been using a lot of turmeric around here so I thought I would try it. DELICIOUS!!

That black, inky wine?  We knew the minute we poured it and took a sniff that we were going to love it.  Fruit and Spice on the nose, with a silky feeling in the mouth that after a few seconds leaves a dry finish that begs for another sip.

I enjoyed the wine with this stew but really was wishing I had made steaks.  Luckily, I have that bottle that my friend, Gassan, from Keg and Kone ordered up.  I am going to serve red meat with that bottle.  I cannot wait.

We each had a glass of wine with dinner and then finished the bottle after the Angel Face and the Teenager went to bed for the night.  It was a great wine for sipping while catching up with each other after a long day.

#stew, #chicken, #onedishmeals, #turmeric, #rice,
Chicken, Stew, Entrees, Rice,
Yield: 4 servingsPin it

Basque Chicken Stew with Turmeric Scented Rice

prep time: 10 minscook time: 30 minstotal time: 40 mins
This flavorful chicken stew from the Basque region is quick enough to enjoy as a weeknight meal yet elegant enough to proudly serve to guests. Served over rice scented with turmeric it makes a delicious one dish meal.


1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs, trimmed and cubed
1 T. sweet paprika
salt and pepper, to taste
2 T. olive oil
1/2 large Vidalia onion, diced
4 oz. diced prosciutto
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 t. dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 c. dry sherry
2 c. chicken stock
1 can tomatoes, crushed
1 (12 oz) jar roasted red peppers, sliced
handful slivered almonds, toasted

2 c. chicken stock
Lg. pinch of turmeric
1 T. olive oil
1 c. long grain rice
1 clove garlic, minced


Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or similar heavy pot over medium high heat.  Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes.  Remove to a plate and set aside.

To the same pot, add the onions and ham.  Reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 more minutes, until onions are softened.  Stir in the garlic, thyme and  bay leaf.  Cook and stir for another minute or two.

Pour in the sherry and cook, stirring and scraping up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan, until sherry is evaporated, another minute or two.  Stir in the broth, tomatoes with their juices, peppers and the chicken.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer while you make the rice.

Heat the chicken broth to steaming, stir in the turmeric.

Heat the olive oil in a sauce pan.  Add the rice and garlic.  Cook and stir until fragrant and rice is coated, about 1 minutes.  Stir in the broth, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes, remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes.

To serve:
Remove stew to a serving bowl and scatter the toasted almonds on top.  Fluff the rice with a fork and place into a serving bowl, allowing diners to serve themselves family style.  Alternately, place 1/4 of the rice into 4 shallow bowls and top with 1/4 of the stew and a sprinkle of almonds.


Recipe adapted from Cuisine at Home, Issue #131.
Created using The Recipes Generator

I am very interested in seeing which wines the others found from this area and how they chose to pair them.  I have a feeling I'm going to want to sip/serve many of these wines over the upcoming holiday season.  Let's go take a look at their posts and then please join us for twitter chat at 11 am today following #WinePW.


  1. Mine was definitely not that inky black color, but we loved it with the grilled lamb. It was okay, but not spectacular, with beef stroganoff. Can't wait to hear what you think about yours with red meat. Cheers!

  2. You may have had trouble finding a bottle of Cahors, but you certainly ended up with a good one! Chateau de Haut-Serre is one of my favorites from that region. And that Basque stew sounds really delicious. I'll have to give it a try!

  3. The stew sounds amazing! Interesting combination with turmeric rice... there are hundreds of Indian recipes for rice with turmeric that I make, but turmeric has such a distinct flavour that I can't imagine how it would be with malbec. Saffron, I'm sure was lovely! What did you think about the turmeric with malbec?

    1. The bottle I had seemed to work well. This was my first experience with turmeric rice but I really liked it and the Angel Face went back for seconds.

    2. Angel Face going back for seconds... as they say, the proof of the pudding is in the eating! :-)

  4. Your stew sounds great, and I'm so glad you liked Cahors. If you're an Argentine Malbec fan, it isn't a guarantee!

  5. Great call on this Basque meal -- can't wait to make i!


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