Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Pollo Asado con Patatas Bravas (Spanish Roast Chicken)

'Bravo' means fierce, feisty and wild in Spanish, used to describe the famous fiery potato tapa and the wild coast north of Barcelona.

I love Roast Chicken. Roast chicken is my comfort food; it is also my ‘go to’ easy meal that I make when I just need something to shove in the oven because I feel battered and broken after a day on my feet. Some years ago my husband had obviously cottoned on to this and complained at the prospect of, ‘Roast chicken again!’ So I started to diversify my roast chicken repertoire. And now I probably now have a roast chicken variation for every week if not nearly every day of the year.

'Pollo Asado con Patatas Bravas', fierce and fiery roast chicken and potatoes, Spanish style. The basis of this recipe comes from some of my early experimentation in the kitchen. On a camping holiday to Spain's Costa Brava in my teens, my family and I happened upon the most delicious spit-roasted chicken. It was succulent, juicy and oh so tasty. We ate it many times during our holiday. One night after our feast, my mum and I continued to pull apart the chicken until there was nothing left but the stuffing inside. Here, we discovered all kinds of aromatics which had been steamed into the chicken during its roasting, flavouring the 'salsa' that the patron would spoon over the chicken. When in Spain, if asked whether you would like salsa with your rotisserie chicken the answer is '¡Si, si, si!' I would also recommend the thin cut fries that are usually on offer, they are great for dipping in the gravy. Anyway, back home my mum and I have frequently tried to recreate the chicken of our memories. I would love to return one day to see if it tastes as good as I remember. Here is the latest attempt with my variation on patatas bravas, served with a fresh tomato salad rather than the traditional spicy tomato sauce. ¡Buen provecho!

Serves 4

For the chicken
A whole chicken
1 lemon
12 thin slices of chorizo (I use the thin sausage ring type)
A handful of thyme
A handful of rosemary
A couple of teaspoons of sweet paprika
3-4 bay leaves 
6-7 cloves  of garlic 
rapeseed oil
Sea salt & pepper

For the roast potatoes 
5-6 medium potatoes
2 teaspoons of spicy paprika
Paprika flavoued oil from the chicken roasting pan
Sea salt & pepper

For the tomato salad
300g of tomatoes
1 tbsp. of  chilli pesto

For the salsa
Chicken pan juices and garlic cloves
A good slug of sherry
300 ml. chicken stock
1 tsp. of corn flour   

My guilty pleasure, cold roast potatoes dipped in sea salt.

This tomato salad is also particularly good with steak or with torn mozzarella.

Remove your chicken from the fridge to allow it to reach room temperature and preheat your oven to 200°C. Remove the string from your chicken and carefully slide your fingers under the breast skin, push the slices of chorizo under the skin and pull the skin back up to cover the meat, you could use a toothpick to secure it in place.

Stuff your chicken with the whole lemon and the fresh herbs, then rub all over with a good slug of rapeseed oil and the sweet paprika. Place the garlic cloves in your roasting dish and sit your chicken on top of them. They will soften and sweeten during the roasting and will soak up some seriously tasty chicken juices.

Put your chicken in to roast for 30 minutes before reducing the temperature to 180°C. Continue to roast until the juices run clear (approximately 50 more minutes for a 2kg chicken).

1 hour before your chicken is ready, peel and chop your potatoes into medium sized chunks. Boil in salted water for 10 minutes. Meanwhile skim off 4-5 tablespoons of the paprika tinged oil from the chicken pan. Put into the bottom of a roasting tray and place in the oven to heat up.

Drain the potatoes and rough them up a bit in the colander, Toss them in the hot oil, sprinkle with spicy paprika and sea salt & pepper. Roast in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden and crispy. 

When your chicken is burnished golden and the juices are running clear, remove from the roasting dish and place on a warm plate to rest for half an hour. Spoon any excess fat from the roasting tin and squeeze the garlic cloves from their skins. Mash them with a fork and stir in a good splash of sherry and 300ml. chicken stock (I unashamedly use cubes the majority of the time). Bring to the boil, mix the corn flour with a little water and add to the gravy. Simmer to thicken and reduce, season if needed.

Chop the tomatoes and stir through the chilli pesto. Serve with the chicken, potatoes and salsa. 

Good luck to the Brownlee brothers who race in the Olympic triathlon today. I am sure they will put in a feisty performance. Go team Yorkshire! If we were a country, we would currently be 11th in the medals table! So proud! (Stephen, maybe the time is right for your plight for independence.)


  1. I got a blogger profile so I could add a comment. Where is my chilli pesto? It looks really yummy and Senior Vic said she really enjoyed it when she made it so I really feel you should make me some please. Looking at it is making me hungry!

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the chilli pesto Vic. Thank you for visiting! Bec, I will deliver a jar for you soon but you could try following the recipe and making your own too! It is very easy. Vx