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Seared Chicken Thighs with Spanish Smoked Paprika

Now here's a chicken I can get excited about.

I mean really excited because it takes 30 minutes from start to finish and tastes like you've been slaving at the stove for hours.

Shhh...let this be our little secret!

So I must admit, that for that very reason alone (not withstanding it's amazing deliciousness) it has made an appearance for at least two dinners when company has come over.

And once again at it's heart are the quality of ingredients.

1) Buy smoked Spanish (imported) Paprika before you make this. Trust me, you'll be sorely disappointed if you pull out that stale old McCormick from the pantry.

2) 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....'coz it's important.

Sherry to be called as such, Jerez can only be made in 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 coat 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.

So once you've got your paprika and sherry in place, the rest is easy-peasy. The chicken gets marinated in healthy doses of the paprika, the garlic cloves, skin on and all, is seared in hot olive oil which bt the way is a wicked easy way of roasting garlic. The chicken is then seared in the same pan to which sherry is added and simmered until it cooks.

Which then brings us to final herb topping where roasted peeled garlic cloves and mushed up with parsley in a food processor and spread over the chicken in the last few minutes.

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.

See what I mean...nothing easier than this chicken. And oh so! incredibly delicious especially with a side of the poor mans potatoes we whipped up the other day.

Give it a go and see for yourself!



Recipe for:

Seared Chicken Thighs with Spanish Smoked Paprika & Parsley Garlic Topping

Serves 4

Shopping list:

2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1/2 tbsp. smoked dulce Spanish paprika

1/2 tbsp. smoked picante Spanish paprika

1-1/2 tsp salt

½ tsp ground black pepper

1/3 cup fino sherry

8 garlic cloves, unpeeled

3 tbsp. olive oil

½ cup chicken stock

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 from stems, chop and set aside.


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 set aside.

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, bring to a boil for 30 seconds then add the chicken stock and 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. You can also you a mortar and pestle. Stir into the chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Serve with potatoes & crusty bread. 



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