Seared Chicken on bed of Piperade

Seared Chicken on bed of Piperade

Always on the lookout for fairly simple but flavor-packed dishes to liven up the slow carb diet, I continually explore TV cooking shows, the internet, pinterest and the like.  However, there are only so many “personalities” that you can allow in your life, and the food channel is so weighted with these larger-than-life personalities that it often becomes difficult to focus on the food.  I’ve recently turned to public television (specifically Jacque Pepin and Hubert Keller) for inspiration.

The cooking shows on public television are more about teaching, and the personalities are…well, more calm, more in the background, and more focused on the food and the techniques.  A recent Hubert Keller episode offered instruction on making three very elegant, but very different sliders.  His presentation was stunning and each slider recipe was packed with high-ticket flavor profiles.  The flavor combinations seemed to be robust enough that removing the bread would not take much away from the dish, making it a perfect candidate for a slow carb diet dish.

I started with adapting the Chicken Piperade Slider to a main dish, which turned out excellent.  I then moved on to adapting the Double Salmon Slider, which my husband thought was 4 times better  (recipe and photos on the next post), and plan to adapt the scallop slider recipe in the coming weeks.  These recipes are my own adaptations, and they have been tested, but if you want his specific slider recipes, he documents them on his website, hubertkeller.com

What is Piperade?

Piperade is the simple, elegant and quintessential dish of the small Basque region that sits partially in France and partially in Spain.  The signature ingredients are those found readily in this region and consist of onion, garlic, peppers and tomatoes (and usually a spicy paprika).  As with any regionally popular dish, there are slight variations and controversy over which version is truly authentic.  Apparently there is controversy over the exact nature of the dish also… is it a sauce to be paired with eggs, a side dish, or a supper dish accompanied by poultry, meat or fish?   I have chosen to adapt it to the Slow-Carb-Diet and use it as a base sauce for chicken.  For  a similar version of  a pepper sauce paired with baked eggs see this post on a North African Shakshouka.

Piperade with Seared Chicken

Slow-cooked Piperade

Slow-cooked Piperade

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, minced or diced
  • 2-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 cup water, (can substitute wine or chicken broth)
  • 2 large red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 banana peppers, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno or preferred hot pepper, chopped (optional)
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water
  • 2-3 large tomatoes (heirlooms are great if available)
  • salt & pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper)
  • 2-3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 6 slices pepperjack cheese, or other pepper cheese like chipotle cheddar slices
  • 1 avocado

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet (or dutch oven) until hot.  Add onions and sweat in oil (saute over med-low heat until translucent) for 2-4 minutes.
  2. Add garlic and cook gently for 1 minute (do not scorch).  Add paprika and stir into onion mixture to coat (it will be dry).  When paprika is thoroughly mixed in add water (or broth) and cook until liquid is evaporated (about 2 minutes).
  3. Add the peppers, thyme and water and cover.  Cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes to steam vegetables.
  4. Add the tomatoes, salt & pepper and cover.  Cook gently until liquid from tomatoes has cooked down and you are left with a thick sauce.
  5. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and brush with oil.  Heat 2-3 Tbsp olive oil until quite hot (almost smoking)  in separate pan.  Place chicken breasts in hot oil and sear until brown, about 3 minutes.  Turn chicken over and turn down heat and cook until done (about 5-8 minutes depending on size of chicken).  Chicken meat should be white inside, but don’t overcook or it will be dry.
  6. When chicken is cooked through, place the cheese slices on top of the chicken breasts and cover the pan to melt the cheese.  Slice the avocado while the cheese is melting
  7. Spoon the piperade onto a plate, place the chicken breast on top, and cover with the sliced avocados.

** Note:  If you do not like whole chicken breasts on your plate, thinly slice the chicken and arrange on top of the piperade and cover with avocados.

Top view of Seared Chicken Piperade

Top view of Seared Chicken Piperade

 

This dish was wonderful, easy and healthy.  Spice it up with hot peppers if you like, but don’t forego the smoked paprika and avocados.  They really add a lot of distinctive flavor!

How do you use Piperade in your cooking?  Or do you call it something else?  I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

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