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Seared Chicken Thighs with Smoked Paprika & Gremolata

Now here's a chicken I can get excited about. Enough to stuff fixing the lighting and doing some pretty plating so it looks just plain delicious.

Nope. Don't care.

This chicken is too darn delicious to do anything but sit yourself down get to it.

At the heart of this recipe quality ingredients. You've often heard me say that the simpler the recipe the more focus should be on quality of it's main ingredients so you should get these right;

  • Use smoked Spanish (imported) Paprika. Trust me, you'll be sorely disappointed if you pull out that stale old McCormick from the pantry. I buy mine at Penzeys spices or as 2 pack - dulce/picante from Amazon.

  • Got to have that Fino sherry for which there is no good substitute so a trip to Total Wine or one of your other big wine stores will be required to hook you up with Spanish fino sherry.

Which now brings me to my spiel about sherry. Sorry, you'll just have to suffer through it. Sherry to be called, 'Jerez' can only be from one place, the area lying between Jerez de la Frontera, Puerto de Santa María and San Lucar de Barrameda in the province of Cádiz.

The secret is the combination of soil (the chalky, crumbly, moisture-retaining while marl) & the damp climate which encourages the growth of the flor (a coating of yeast that forms on the aging wine and prevents it from oxidizing)

For this dish, we're sticking with what the Spaniards prefer; the bone-dry, crystal-clear Fino.

Other types of Sherry include oloroso, manzanilla, palo cortado, and the very sweet Pedro Ximenez which is also known as the beloved Christmas Sherry would be wrong in this dish.

So once you've got your paprika and Fino sherry in place, the rest is easy peasy.

The chicken gets marinated in healthy doses of the paprika, salt and pepper. Use skin-on garlic cloves but in a pinch, use whole peeled.

The variation on the herb topping, Germolata is brilliant with browned peeled garlic cloves get processed with fresh parsley in a food processor and sprinkled over the chicken just before serving.

Can this get any more yummier?!

Olden times, we'd be pulling out the mortar and pestle for this last step but I think a few whizzes in the trusted food processor, does the trick pretty quick without the hassle.

Makes for a superb dinner with a side of green salad, some roasted mixed vegetables or potatoes and crusty bread.

You're going to love it! Give it a go and see for yourself!



Recipe for

Seared Chicken Thighs with Smoked Paprika & Gremolata

Serves 4

Shopping list:

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 tbsp. smoked dulce Spanish paprika

1/2 tbsp. smoked picante Spanish paprika

2 tsp sea salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1/3 cup Fino sherry

1/2 cup water

8-12 garlic cloves, unpeeled (but use whole peeled in a pinch)

3 tbsp. olive oil

2 bay leaves

1/2 cup packed fresh parsley leaves


Chicken: Wash and wipe to dry completely with paper towels or kitchen towels. Trim any excess fat away and cut the chicken into 1/3rd sections. In a mixing bowl toss the chicken with the paprika, salt and ground black pepper. Set aside.

Parsley: Separate leaves from stems and set aside in the bowl of a food preocessor.


Heat 2 tbsp. olive oil on high heat in a heavy bottom sauté pan or chicken fryer at least 3” deep.

Add the garlic cloves and sauté for 1-2 minutes until brown. Remove and add the brown and peeled garlic to the food processor bowl with the parsley leaves.

Add the chicken and sear in batches until brown all over. Add the additional olive oil as needed to do this.

Return all the chicken to the same pan and add the sherry and bring to a boil for 30 seconds then add the water and the bay leaves. Cover the pan and cook the chicken for approx. 10 minutes or so until tender.

Meanwhile, peel the garlic and place in a food processor bowl along with the fresh parsley. Process until the parsley is chopped.

Sprinkle over the chicken. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with any number of sides; roasted veggies, a green salad, roasted potatoes & crusty bread.




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