Crispy skin chicken pieces in an amazingly delicious garlicky roasted red pepper sauce – a Gypsy chicken recipe to die for!
This recipe for Chicken in Garlic and Roasted Pepper Sauce will certainly make it into my Top 10 this year – it is that good! If you like chicken and garlic, you will soooo love this dish! But you really must like garlic, you need about half a large garlic bulb for this dish, an uncooked half a garlic bulb, so really really garlicky, vampire killing, hardcore stuff. I love it!
Just like in the case of the other Gypsy recipe I posted this week: Pork, Rice and Cabbage Stew – Sah Hai Mas, there is no real recipe I found for this dish. It was mentioned in several places, the ingredients were listed (by the way – the original dish uses 2 bulbs of garlic!!!) and I know that the peppers and the chicken should actually be grilled on the fire, but otherwise no real recipe, so this is my own interpretation of the Gypsy Chicken in Garlic and Pepper Sauce or Pui pe sar a la Lulica.
It seems that this famous dish in the Gypsy community was named after Lulica, a woman (ancestor) belonging to the Cioaba family, which is the “royal” Gypsy family in Romania, Florin Cioaba (deceased in 2013) having proclaim himself King of the Gypsies in the 1990’s. His family lives in my hometown Sibiu and is running different projects trying to improve the situation of the Gypsies in Romania and especially to improve the image of the Gypsies, to lessen the prejudice of the Romanian population against the Roma population and to improve the relationship between the Gypsies and the Romanian people.
This Skillet Chicken in Garlic and Roasted Pepper Sauce is a very simple dish, using few ingredients, but so full of taste, it will leave you breathless. Literally! 🙂 Typical not only for the so-called Gypsy food, but also for Romanian food generally, the list of ingredients of Romanian recipes is generally not very long, our common and beloved food is usually peasant food, simple yet tasty, using few ingredients of a usually better quality than anything you could buy in a modern supermarket in the city, that is: chickens raised in the backyard, red pointed peppers and garlic grown in the vegetable patch. Some fresh white bread from the baker or polenta and you have the most delicious meal you can imagine. Again, if you like garlic, in this case. 🙂
Normally, you should have to grill the red peppers and the chicken parts needed for this dish on the fire, outside the house. I would do that, I am sure that that roasted, wooden fire flavor would make this dish even better, however, that would be too much of a trouble, to tell you the truth. Especially now, when the weather is so wet and cold… And starting a fire and bringing up that patience needed when grilling is really not my thing.
So, I make this dish entirely in the house, in the oven and on the hob in the cast-iron pan. And the result is soooo delicious, I prefer not to think about how much better it would be if cooked in the genuine manner, outside, directly on the wooden fire.
I use this method for cooking the chicken in the skillet not only for this recipe, but for many other chicken recipes as well. It is simple, the chicken parts look gorgeous after being cooked and they taste so good: the flesh is tender and the skin crispy and savory. The only thing you have to consider is to not move the chicken parts during the first 10 minutes of the cooking time. You will place them in the skillet skin side down and leave them for the 10 minutes unmoved. I noticed that if I try to move them any earlier the skin would stick to the pan and break. After the 10 minutes you will be able to turn the chicken parts and the skin will remain intact.
Another thing to consider is to make sure that the chicken parts are cooked through, no pink juices should come out when you pierce the chicken, BUT you should not overcook the chicken either. If you use a whole chicken, keep in mind that the breast parts (unless very large) will need slightly less time than the chicken thighs. And if you have only chicken legs separated at the joint, the drumsticks will also need a shorter cooking time than the thighs. Just check, it is easy: pierce the chicken parts where they are thickest, the juices should run clear. If they are still pink leave the chicken parts cook for a few more minute then check again.
I used a whole chicken for this recipe. I cut it into 6 parts: thighs, drumsticks and the breasts. I used the rests (wings, backbone, neck and various scraps) to make this chicken stock. However, if you do not want to use a whole chicken, only chicken legs or breasts with skin and bones are equally delicious. You could use boneless skinless chicken breasts for a leaner version as well, but keep in mind that you will have to reduce the cooking time then, boneless chicken breasts are ready in a shorter period of time.
So, if you are a garlic enthusiast, make sure to try this dish, you will love it!
- 4-5 red pointed peppers
- 1 chicken, about 1,5 kg/ 3.3 lbs (or the same amount of chicken legs or chicken breasts with bones)
- 1 tablespoon oil
- ½ large garlic bulb (or 1 small bulb or to taste but not too little of it)
- sweet paprika powder
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- some parsley
- white bread, polenta or potatoes to serve
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius/ 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Half and deseed the peppers. Place them on a tray lined with baking paper and roast them in the oven for about 20-30 minutes until the skin blackens. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the peppers to a freezer bag. That will make the peeling easier. Leave them there until they are cool enough to handle. In the meantime start cooking the chicken.
Alternatively, you can grill the whole peppers and the chicken parts on the grill.
Divide the chicken into parts: chicken thighs, chicken drumsticks and the breasts. Use the rests (wings, backbone, neck and various scraps) to make this chicken stock. If you are using only chicken legs, separate them at the joint. Generously sprinkle the chicken parts on both sides with salt, pepper and sweet paprika powder.
Heat the skillet. Add the chicken parts, skin side down and let cook, unmoved, on medium heat for 10 minutes. Carefully, turn the chicken pieces and turn the heat down to medium-low. Continue cooking for about 20 minutes. Check if the chicken is cooked through by piercing it at its thickest part. The juices should run clear. If the juices are still pink, continue cooking the chicken and check again later.
Smaller pieces like the drumsticks or boneless chicken parts will need a shorter cooking time, so check in time and do not overcook the chicken. Larger parts, like the thighs or whole breasts with the bone in might need some extra minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, peel the roasted peppers and slice them into rather thin slices.
Finely grate or press the garlic cloves. Give them to a bowl and add some salt and pepper. Stir very well. Add 250 ml/ 1 cup cold water and stir. Add the pepper slices and stir.
When the chicken is cooked through, give the garlic pepper sauce to the pan. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with white bread or polenta.
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