This delicious recipe is adapted from Gjelina ‘Cooking from Venice Beach’ and although I was initially put off by the brining of the chicken, it’s certainly worth the effort. The braised kale makes a great accompaniment to this dish but could easily be eaten on its own!
240ml warm water
240ml ice water
1 lemon cut into rounds
4 thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 dried guajillo chilli – or chilli of preference
4 chicken breasts – skin on
3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 Spanish onions, peeled and diced
4 cloves garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika (pimentón)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
480ml vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
3 bunches washed kale (I used spring greens), thick stems discarded or cut into thin strips, leaves cut into thick strips
Place a large, heavy-bottomed, high-sided sauté pan or casserole dish over medium-high heat and add olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and cook until they soften and begin to turn translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes.
Add tomato paste and smoked paprika, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring frequently, until the paste begins to caramelize, about 5 to 7 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, then add stock and vinegar, and allow to come to a boil.
Add half the kale, cover, and cook for a minute or two, until it wilts. Repeat with remaining kale. Stir to incorporate the onion mixture into the soft kale and simmer until tender, 20 to 30 minutes, partly covered. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside in preparation for the chicken.
Pre heat the oven to 260c
Remove the chicken breasts from the brine and pat dry with a paper towel. Season both sides with salt and pepper
Heat a large oven proof frying pan over high heat until very hot. Add enough olive oil to coat the chicken. Place the breasts skin side down into the pan. Turn the heat down to medium and cook, basting the chicken with the oil, fat and juices until the skin is well seared, about 3 minutes.
Without flipping the chicken, move the pan to the hot oven and roast until crisp and golden, approx. 10 minutes
Remove the chicken from the pan and discard some of the cooking fat. Add the braised kale, with enough of its cooking sauce to keep it moist. Nestle the chicken breasts skin side up and return to the oven. Cook until the chickens are cooked, 2-5 minutes approx.
Remove the chicken and stir some more red wine vinegar into the pan. Spread the kale onto a serving plate and pour the juices over it and top with the chicken. Serve hot.
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