I'm recording my "adjusted" recipe here because it was so flipping good, I don't want to lose it! You know what websites are like - they can up and disappear overnight - and I'd hate to lose this one.
Now this recipe really is something a little bit different. It is basically a Spanish sweet and sour chicken recipe - but don't think oriental at all. Instead think saffron, orange juice, chilli and olives. It also has the benefit of not involving any sweet peppers at all. Not that I have a problem with sweet peppers, it just makes a pleasant change to not have to put them into something "Spanish". What makes it "sweet and sour" is the combination of sherry vinegar (my first time using that - and I love it!) and runny honey. Now I will say, you do need to like saffron for this one. Happily, I love it - it's by far and away my favourite of all the spices. If you're going to be picky, then Spanish La Mancha Saffron is the best type to use for this recipe. However, don't break your neck trying to find some - any old saffron is better than none, but do try to use the saffron threads rather than ground saffron.
The recipe is simplicity itself to both prepare for and make - it's another of my favourite "sit in one place and add ingredients to a pan in the right order" recipes. I like those.
It is most important that you reduce the sauce down to a syrupy consistency. It tastes good in the early, wetter, stage - but once you've reduced it down to being syrupy, my goodness but the flavour becomes so intense. I had a hard job to not taste it too often!
The next time I make it, I may very well include some sliced mushrooms - so you'll see I've included them in the recipe. The original recipe uses some toasted pine nuts and fresh coriander by way of garnish, however I didn't bother with either of these - I just sprinkled on some chopped parsley.
I served mine with plain white rice, but it could easily have taken some broccoli or green beans as a side dish, or been served with a side salad and some bread to mop up the sauce.
CHICKEN LA MANCHA (serves 3)
a large pinch of saffron (Spanish saffron, ideally)
½ chicken stock cube, crumbled into 100ml boiling water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped finely
1 red chilli, chopped and seeds removed if you prefer
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
half a tsp of ground cinnamon
150ml orange juice
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
1 tbsp clear honey
10 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 courgette, quartered and diced
4 chestnut mushrooms, sliced
6 stoned green olives, halved
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley, for garnish.
In a small bowl, add the saffron to the hot stock and leave to soak.
Heat the oil in a good sized frying pan and cook the onion, garlic and chilli until the onion is soft and just beginning to turn golden.
Push the onion mixture to one side of the pan and add the chicken. Cook on a fairly high heat for a few minutes until the chicken is browned all over.
Reduce the heat, add the cinnamon and stir through.
Add the saffron stock, orange juice, vinegar, honey, tomatoes, courgettes, olives and raisins. Increase the heat to bring the contents to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes or until the sauce is reduced and the chicken and vegetables are cooked through.
Serve with a scattering of chopped fresh parsley for garnish.