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Poulet Basquaise with Currant Couscous


This excellent Basque-style chicken from Shawn Gawle, chef at Les Clos wine bar in San Francisco, also includes strips of poblano, plus a sauce enhanced with pimentón, the smoky Spanish paprika, and a splash of sherry vinegar. Mark Bright, Les Clos's owner, suggests a basic red Burgundy with it.

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  • chicken
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 whole chicken legs, separated into thighs and drumsticks
  • Kosher salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 small red onion, minced
  • 1 poblano chile, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon pimentón de la Vera
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • couscous
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Small pinch of saffron threads
  • 2 1/2 cups couscous (about 14 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/4 cup minced red onion
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


Adapted from


Step 1

Make the chicken Preheat the oven to 350°. In a large enameled cast-iron casserole, heat the oil. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Add half of the pieces to the casserole and cook over moderately high heat until browned all over, 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Brown the remaining chicken.
Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the oil from the casserole. Add the onion, poblano and bell pepper. Cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook until broken down, about 8 minutes. Add the pimentón and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine, vinegar, thyme and bay leaves and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half, 2 minutes. Nestle the chicken in the sauce, cover and braise in the oven until cooked through, about 1 1/4 hours; discard the thyme and bay leaves.
Make the couscous In a saucepan, combine the wine, oil, saffron and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil. In a large heatproof bowl, combine the couscous, currants, onion and salt. Pour the hot wine mixture over, cover and let stand until the couscous is tender and the liquid is absorbed, 30 minutes. Fluff the couscous and serve with the chicken.

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