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Mediterranean Boneless Chicken Thighs Simmered In Tomato Sofrito And Spicy Paprika

Written By: Byron | August 2, 2023
A large casserole dish of Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs with a rich red sofrito sauce.

Mediterranean Boneless Chicken Thighs Simmered In Tomato Sofrito And Spicy Paprika is the ultimate comfort food recipe. It’s rich and full of flavor, loaded with healthy and easy-to-find ingredients, plus it comes together in well under an hour. 

This no-fuss recipe is ideal for weeknight dinners or as a special meal served alongside your favorite choice of side dishes. There will be plenty of rich, spicy sauce leftover so make sure you serve it with plenty of fresh bread, some steamed rice, or Mediterranean-style yellow rice.

This recipe makes a main for 4 people when served with a side or salad.

Main Meals | Chicken Recipe | Sofrito Sauce | Summer Recipe | Easy Recipe | Healthy | Mediterranean Recipe | Made in under 1 hour | Spanish Smoked Paprika

Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

Under 1 hour

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread or side

Ingedients used to make Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs and sofrito sauce are laid out on a kitchen table.

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How To Make Mediterranean Boneless Chicken Thighs

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs (skin on or off) 
  • 1 onion, diced fine
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 2 tomatoes, halved then quartered
  • 3.4 fl oz. (100ml) of tomato paste
  • 1 x 14oz. (400g) can of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
  • 1 x 10oz. (300g) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers (or roast your own)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1.7oz (50g) pitted black olives 
  • 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt 
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • White pepper (to taste)

Equipment needed

Method

Step 1 – Prepare sofrito sauce

  • Add half of the oil to a pan on high heat and cook the onion until golden. This should take around 5 minutes
  • Add the garlic and reduce heat to medium, cook for 1 minute.
  • Add the canned tomatoes and tomato paste and mix through. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, finely slice the roasted peppers and add to the pan. Stir through and simmer for 5 minutes
  • Move the ingredients to the side and add the smoked paprika, garlic powder, and white pepper. Add a little oil to the spices and mix into the oil until you get a paste.
  • Mix into the other ingredients in the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat (the longer the better as your sofrito sauce will thicken).

Step 2 – Brown chicken

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C

  • Transfer the sofrito sauce from the pan into a casserole dish or oven-safe dish. 
  • Turn up the heat on the pan to high and add the remaining oil and loosen the rest of the sauce in the pan. 
  • Once hot, add the chicken and lightly brown on all slides. 
  • Transfer a little of the sofrito sauce onto the chicken as it browns. 
  • Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the heat and transfer it to the casserole dish.

Step 3 – Bake chicken

  • Cover chicken in sauce, add the fresh tomato pieces and black olives, and season to taste. Add the fresh rosemary sprigs on top and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  • Check the chicken is cooked through before serving.

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

Mediterranean Boneless Chicken Thighs: Options

Summoning flavors from the Mediterranean, this boneless chicken thighs recipe is gently simmered in a rich sofrito sauce that is packed with smoked paprika. In just under an hour, the chicken is cooked to perfection and is an excellent main dish to accompany your favorite side dish, rice, potatoes, or just mop it up with bread. 

Why use boneless chicken thighs?

  • Easier to prepare
  • Easier to eat
  • Cook faster

Boneless chicken thighs are easier to cook with as they require less preparation time and also cook faster than bone-in chicken thighs. We opted for skin-on chicken thighs and crisped up the skin slightly while browning the chicken thighs in step 2 of this recipe. 

No bones about it! Of course, boneless chicken thighs are also much easier to eat as you don’t need to worry about any bones in the food. 

If you want a healthier option, use skinless boneless chicken thighs, they are lower in fat and calories than bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs.

What is Sofrito?

Sofrito is not a sauce per se, but rather a flavorful base used in many Mediterranean dishes. It is typically a mix of aromatic ingredients including onions, garlic, bell peppers, tomatoes, and herbs, but exact ingredients vary throughout the Mediterranean.

It originated in Spain and the word comes from the verb “sofreír” In Spanish cuisine, sofrito is often made with onions, garlic, tomatoes, and sometimes bell peppers, sautéed in olive oil. It serves as a base for various paella and rice recipes, fideuà, stews, and other dishes.

To make sofrito, the ingredients are usually finely chopped or blended together and simmered down with olive oil until it forms a paste or a sauce-like consistency. It is then used as a flavoring agent to add depth and richness to various dishes, such as meat and poultry dishes, stews, and rice dishes.

Sofrito is highly versatile and can add delicious complexity to a wide array of dishes. It is a fundamental element of many traditional recipes in Spain and throughout the Mediterranean and is celebrated for its ability to enhance the overall taste of a meal so experiment using it in other dishes too, where you think it will work. 

A large casserole dish of Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs with a rich red sofrito sauce.

Spanish Smoked Paprika

A staple in the spice rack of any Spanish kitchen pantry, the most famous Spanish smoked paprika is known as “pimentón de la Vera” and comes from Vera. It is a unique and flavorful spice made from dried red peppers that are smoked over oak wood fires. 

The process of making Spanish smoked paprika involves several steps:

  • Pepper Selection: The peppers used for making smoked paprika are typically a specific variety called “Jaranda,” “Bola,” or “Jariza.” These peppers have a sweet and slightly spicy flavor, which adds to the distinct taste of the final product.
  • Harvesting and Drying: The peppers are harvested when fully ripe and mature. They are then left to dry in the sun for several days until they reach a specific moisture level.
  • Smoking: The dried peppers are traditionally smoked using oak wood fires. This step is crucial in giving Spanish smoked paprika its characteristic smoky flavor. The peppers are placed in smokehouses, and the smoke from the oak wood imparts smokiness into the peppers. The process can take several days to ensure the peppers absorb enough of the smoky aroma.
  • Grinding: Once the peppers are sufficiently smoked, they are ground into a fine powder. This grinding process can be done using traditional stone mills or modern machinery.
  • Classification: Spanish smoked paprika is available in different varieties, usually categorized by their level of spiciness: “dulce” (sweet and mild), “agridulce” (bittersweet and medium-spicy), and “picante” (spicy).

The resulting Spanish smoked paprika has a rich, smoky flavor and vibrant red color, making it a popular and distinctive spice used in many Spanish and Mediterranean dishes. It is a key ingredient in dishes like paella, chorizo sausage, and various stews, imparting a delicious smokiness and adding depth to the flavors. 

Why use Spanish Smoked paprika with chicken dishes?

Using Spanish smoked paprika with chicken dishes can elevate the flavor profile and add a delightful smokiness to the overall taste. It really complements the natural taste of chicken, and the smokiness can mimic the taste of grilled or barbecued chicken without the need for an actual grill.

Here are just a few more reasons why Spanish smoked paprika works exceptionally well with chicken:

  • Depth of Flavor: The smoky notes from the paprika add depth to the overall flavor of the chicken dish and sauce. It enhances the taste and aroma, making the chicken more enjoyable and satisfying.
  • Visual Appeal: Smoked paprika also imparts a vibrant red color to the chicken, making it visually appealing and even more appetizing than usual.
  • Balanced Heat: Using spicy smoked paprika can provide a balanced level of heat that enhances the overall taste without overwhelming the dish.

Chicken recipes with Spanish smoked paprika:

Overall, using smoked paprika in chicken dishes is an excellent way to add complexity and depth to recipes. It’s a great spice to have in your kitchen arsenal and is sure to elevate your chicken dishes to a whole new level.

Not a fan of smoked paprika? Check out our complete guide on hot paprika, smoked paprika, and sweet paprika.

Spanish paprika complete cooking guide infographic
  • Where to buy Spanish Smoked Paprika

    In Spain, Pimentón de la Vera is widely recognized as the most popular smoked paprika and is available in most supermarkets or grocery stores. Beyond the shores of Spain, it is still possible to find good quality Spanish smoked paprika.

    In the US and UK, specialty Spanish supermarkets will always have a good range of smoked paprika products available, and there are plenty of large supermarket chains offering home-brand or branded paprika products. 

    If you want to source Pimentón de la Vera, it’s easily found online through Amazon too.

A large casserole dish of Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs with a rich red sofrito sauce.

FAQs

What is the best Spanish smoked paprika?

La Vera smoked paprika is the most popular type of smoked paprika in Spain. In Vera, they still use stone mills to create what is considered the finest, most flavorful smoked paprika in Spain.

Are boneless chicken thighs better than bone-in?

If you’re short on time, boneless chicken thighs are much easier to prepare and eat. They still retain the rich flavor and grill perfectly. If you’re looking for a healthier option, choose skin-off over skin-on.

Do boneless chicken thighs cook faster than bone-in thighs?

Yes, boneless chicken thighs will cook faster than bone-in thighs. Allow around 15-20 minutes when baking boneless chicken thighs in the oven at 400°F (200°C). Always check the chicken is cooked through before serving. 

What temperature is cooked boneless chicken thighs?

According to the USDA guidelines for cooked chicken, chicken thighs should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. 

What is Sofrito?

In Spanish cooking, Sofrito is a mixture of lightly fried onions and garlic, usually simmered down in olive oil with tomatoes and other vegetables. It has a sauce-like consistency and is used as a base for soups and stews, and cooking meat and poultry dishes.

Nutrition Facts

 

Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 486
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34.2g 44%
Saturated Fat 7.4g 37%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 586mg 25%
Total Carbohydrate 21.1g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5.3g 19%
Total Sugars 9.3g  
Protein 23.7g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 98mg 8%
Iron 4mg 24%
Potassium 375mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.
A large casserole dish of Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs with a rich red sofrito sauce.

Mediterranean Boneless Chicken Thighs Simmered In Tomato Sofrito And Spicy Paprika

Byron
Mediterranean Boneless Chicken Thighs Simmered In Tomato Sofrito And Spicy Paprika is rich and full of flavor, loaded with healthy and easy-to-find ingredients.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Course dinner, Main Course, meat, Poultry
Cuisine American, Authentic Spanish recipe, latin american, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 4 Main
Calories 486 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large casserole dish or oven-safe dish
  • 1 large pan (e.g: 26cm / 10.25 Inch Cast Iron Skillet)
  • 1 sharp kitchen knife
  • Chopping board

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless chicken thighs skin on or off - Allow 1 thigh per serving
  • 1 onion diced fine
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic diced
  • 2 tomatoes halved then quartered
  • 3.4 fl oz. 100ml of tomato paste
  • 1 x 14oz. 400g can of chopped tomatoes (you can use fresh tomatoes if you prefer)
  • 1 x 10oz. 300g jar of roasted Piquillo peppers (or roast your own)
  • 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 1.7 oz 50g pitted black olives
  • 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon of spicy smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • White pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Prepare sofrito sauce

  • Add half of the oil to a pan on high heat and cook the onion until golden. This should take around 5 minutes.
    1 onion, 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    sauteed onions
  • Add the garlic and reduce heat to medium, cook for 1 minute.
    4-5 cloves of garlic
    a small glass ramikin sits on a wooden board filled with sliced garlic
  • Add the tinned tomatoes and tomato paste and mix through. Simmer for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, finely slice the roasted peppers and add to the pan. Stir through and simmer for 5 minutes.
    3.4 fl oz., 1 x 14oz., 1 x 10oz.
    A can of tomatoes is added to a pan of sauteed onions and garlic.
  • Move the ingredients to the side and add the smoked paprika, garlic powder, and white pepper. Add a little oil to the spices and mix into the oil until you get a paste.
    1 tablespoon of spicy smoked paprika, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, White pepper
    Spices are added to pan.
  • Mix into the other ingredients in the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes on low heat (the longer the better as your sofrito sauce will thicken).
    A large pan of simmering sofrito.

Step 2 - Brown chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C - Transfer the sofrito sauce from the pan into a casserole dish or oven-safe dish.
    A sofrito sauce is tranferred from a pan into a casserole dish.
  • Turn up the heat on the pan to high and add the remaining oil and loosen the rest of the sauce in the pan. Once hot, add the chicken and lightly brown on all slides.
    4 boneless chicken thighs
    Some chicken browns in a pan with a little sofrito sauce added.
  • Transfer a little of the sofrito sauce onto the chicken as it browns.
    Some chicken browns in a pan with a little sofrito sauce added.
  • Once the chicken is browned, remove it from the heat and transfer it to the casserole dish.
    Browned chicken pieces in a dish with sofrito sauce.

Step 3 - Bake chicken

  • Cover chicken in sauce, add the fresh tomato pieces and black olives, and season to taste. Add the fresh rosemary sprigs on top and bake for 15-20 minutes.
    2 tomatoes, 2-3 sprigs of fresh rosemary, 1.7 oz 50g pitted black olives, 1 teaspoon of Pink Himalayan Salt
    A large casserole dish of Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs with a rich red sofrito sauce.
  • Check the chicken is cooked through before serving.
    A large casserole dish of Mediterranean boneless chicken thighs with a rich red sofrito sauce.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 200gCalories: 486kcalCarbohydrates: 21.1gProtein: 23.7gFat: 34.2gSaturated Fat: 7.4gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 586mgPotassium: 375mgFiber: 5.3gSugar: 9.3gCalcium: 98mgIron: 4mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, baked Chicken, Boneless, Boneless chicken thighs, chicken, Chicken thighs, oven roasted, smoked paprika, sofrito, sofrito sauce, Spanish Chicken

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