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Spanish Chicken Chilindrón (Pollo al Chilindrón)

One-pot recipe, ready in around an hour

Written By: Byron | July 12, 2023
A pan of Spanish chicken chilindron with lots of sauce.

Spanish chicken Chilindrón is considered a classic in Spanish cuisine made from chicken cooked with peppers and tomatoes. This simple recipe is famed in Spanish cookbooks all over for its humble ingredients that can suit any wallet and is favored for its delicious aroma and rich flavors. 

This easy one-pot recipe is cooked in one large skillet or pot. It is an ideal recipe when you’re craving some comfort food, or looking to entertain the masses with a rich and hearty meal that won’t cost a fortune to make. The portions we used in this recipe make four main meal servings and the dish pairs well with some steamed rice or roasted potatoes. 

Main Meal | Chicken & Poultry Recipe | Summer | One-Pot Recipe | Easy Recipe | Healthy | Mediterranean Recipe | Made in around an hour

Serving:

Main 4 servings

Ready in:

1 hr, 5 mins

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread, steamed rice

ingredients used to make Spanish chicken chilindron are laid out on a kitchen counter.

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How to make Spanish chicken chilindrón

Ingredients

  • 4 large chicken drumsticks (skin on)
  • 1 large red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 large onion, sliced fine
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 ripe tomatoes, grated, skin discarded
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 3oz. (80g) Serrano ham, diced
  • 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil 
  • 1 teaspoon of Spanish Sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of Dried Ñora Peppers 
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (to taste)

Equipment needed

Method

Step 1 – Brown chicken

  • Add around half of the olive oil to a hot pan. 
  • Add chicken, season with some salt, and brown chicken on all sides. This should take 5-8 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic around the last minute.
  • Once the chicken is browned evenly, remove from the pan and set aside. 

Step 2 – Build sauce

  • Add the onions and remaining oil to the pan on medium heat and saute for 3-4 minutes until golden. 
  • Add the diced bell pepper and saute for another 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add the grated tomato and Serrano ham and stir through. 
  • Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Most of the liquid will dissolve, don’t worry, we add more liquid in the next step.

Step 3 – Add spices and wine

  • Scrape some space in the pan and add a splash more oil, then add the spices and stir into the oil constantly for 1 minute, allowing some of the sauce juices to absorb while stirring.
  • Once the spices are absorbed by the oil, stir through the tomato and other veg. 
  • Add the white wine and stir through. If the sauce still looks dry, add a little water. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 4 – Add chicken, simmer, and serve

  • Reduce heat to low, add the browned chicken pieces to the pan, and cover them in sauce. 
  • Cover and simmer for 5 minutes. 
  • Remove the cover and drizzle some of the juices from the bottom over the chicken, simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. When cooked properly, the chicken should be tender and start to fall off the bone. 
  • Remove from heat, season to taste, and serve!

 Watch Spanish Chicken Chilindrón 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.

Where is Chicken chilindrón from?

Chicken chilindrón originates from Aragon, the autonomous community in Spain located inland from Barcelona and has the agricultural capital of Zaragoza. This humble recipe is considered a classic of Spanish cuisine and nowadays, you’ll find it served all over Spain. 

What is Chicken chilindrón made with?

Chicken chilindrón is rumored to be one of the oldest documented dishes of Spanish gastronomy. Its namesake hails from a game of cards called “chilindrón”, where the winner of the game would decide which of the diners at the table paid for the food. 

This recipe has remained popular as it uses easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients. The sauce uses Serrano ham, grated tomato, red bell pepper, garlic, and onion that is simmered down into a rich sauce that is then infused with white wine and some spices. 

Bone-in chicken pieces

We’ve opted for chicken drumsticks for this recipe as they cook a little faster than other cuts of chicken. If chicken drumsticks aren’t your thing, it is totally fine to use chicken thighs or chicken breast meat, just be sure to adjust your cooking time to suit (the larger the cut of chicken, the longer it will take). 

If you love cooking with chicken, try these recipes too:

Roast chicken thighs with red wine and herbs

Spanish chicken with chorizo and wine

Spicy chicken and chorizo rice

Baked Mediterranean chicken thighs 

Serrano ham

Serrano is added to the sauce and gives everything a richer flavor. Be careful not to add too much salt during cooking as the Serrano ham will add plenty of saltiness to the recipe. Try this roasted asparagus wrapped in Serrano ham if you’re looking for a tapas recipe

Tomatoes and bell pepper

This is a favored combination in Spanish cooking and for good reason. Lots of grated on-vine Roma tomato is simmered down and combines well with the sweetness of lightly sauteed bell peppers. Many recipes also add green pepper to give a little bitterness. 

Spices

Traditionally, this recipe does not use a lot of spice, and a lot of older recipes call for just a little salt and cracked pepper. If you want to boost the flavor, add some smoked or sweet Spanish paprika. We also add a little white pepper and some garlic powder just to give the sauce something extra.

A pan of Spanish chicken chilindron with lots of sauce.

Ingredient substitutions

This recipe can be found in pretty much any Spanish cookbook worth its salt, so there’s going to be plenty of variation to Spain’s oldest documented recipe. We’ve kept things pretty simple and only added a few extra spices, just to really push through some extra flavor. 

Nora pepper

We added ½ teaspoon of crushed Nora peppers, a smoky (not spicy) pepper used in Valencian cuisine, and most famously featuring in the ingredients list for a paella. This adds some subtle smoked flavors to the recipe, and don’t worry, Nora peppers are not considered spicy, with just 500 SHU (Scoville Heat Units). 

Chorizo

Some fresh raw chorizo works well in his recipe. Add it with the chicken pieces and cook it long enough so that the delicious paprika-infused oil oozes from the chorizo. It’ll add a fantastic flavor to the chicken and veg. If you’re looking for some chorizo tapas recipes, try Spanish chorizo cooked in cider or chicken with cider-infused chorizo empanadas.  

Rabbit

Rabbit is quite popular in Spanish cuisine and works very well instead of chicken. It takes around the same amount of time to cook, and rabbit hind legs are super flavorsome when simmered down in tomato and bell pepper sauce.  

Rosemary

Add a few sprigs of rosemary to the sauce as it simmers with the chicken pieces and you’ll get lovely subtle rosemary flavors in the sauce. Another option is to use dried rosemary which can be added at the same time as the other spices.

A serving of chicken chilindron is served eside a glass of red wine.

What are Ñora peppers?

Ñora peppers are small, round, red peppers that are used to add flavor to Spanish rice dishes, stews (cocidos). Ñora peppers are most commonly found in Valencian rice dishes such as paella (including seafood paella) and fideua dishes (like fideua with seafood). 

Ñora peppers have a strong smoky flavor and are used dried — they’re air-dried and then sold either whole, flaked, or ground. They are more common in Spanish cuisine compared to the typical red chili, although they are not considered spicy, with just 500 SHU.

FAQs

How long does Chicken Chilindrón take to make?

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Total time: 1 hour 5 min

What are the best cuts of chicken to use for making Chicken Chilindrón?

Use chicken drumsticks, wings, or bone-in chicken thighs for best results. 

Where does Chicken Chilindrón originate?

Aragon, Spain. The recipe is called Pollo al Chilindron in Spanish and is one of the oldest documented recipes in Spanish cuisine. 

Is Chicken Chilindrón spicy?

No. This recipe is very mild with little to no spice. 

What is a substitute for Ñora peppers?

Use cayenne pepper as a more spicy alternative to Ñora peppers.

A pan of Spanish chicken chilindron with lots of sauce.
A pan of Spanish chicken chilindron with lots of sauce.

Spanish Chicken Chilindrón One-Pot Recipe (Pollo al Chilindrón)

Byron
Spanish chicken Chilindrón is considered a classic in Spanish cuisine made from chicken cooked with peppers and tomatoes. This simple recipe is famed in Spanish cookbooks all over for its humble ingredients that can suit any wallet and is favored for its delicious aroma and rich flavors.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Course Main Course, main meal, meat
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 4 Main
Calories 322 kcal

Equipment

  • 12 inch skillet or pot (30cm)
  • Chopping board
  • Sharp kitchen knife
  • Cheese grater size XL

Ingredients

  • 4 large chicken drumsticks skin on
  • 1 large red bell pepper diced fine
  • 1 large onion sliced fine
  • 6 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 ripe tomatoes grated, skin discarded
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • 3 oz. 80g Serrano ham, diced
  • 4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 teaspoon of Spanish Sweet smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of Dried Ñora Peppers
  • Pink Himalayan Salt * to taste

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Brown chicken

  • Add around half of the olive oil to a hot pan.
    4 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    some oil is added to a non-stick frying pan.
  • Add chicken, season with some salt, and brown chicken on all sides. This should take 5-8 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the sliced garlic around the last minute. Once the chicken is browned evenly, remove from the pan and set aside.
    4 large chicken drumsticks, 6 garlic cloves
    Some chicken drumsticks cook in a pan with some oil.

Step 2 - Build sauce

  • Add the onions and remaining oil to the pan on medium heat and saute for 3-4 minutes until golden.
    1 large onion
    some diced onion cooks in a pan
  • Add the diced bell pepper and saute for another 3-4 minutes before adding the garlic, stirring occasionally.
    1 large red bell pepper
    Some red bell pepper is added to a pan with some sauteed onions.
  • Add the grated tomato and Serrano ham and stir through.
    3 ripe tomatoes, 3 oz. 80g Serrano ham, diced
    sauteed tomatoes in a pan with some ham, red pepper and onion.
  • Reduce heat to medium and allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Most of the liquid will dissolve, don’t worry, we add more liquid in the next step.
    Some tomato and veg are sauteed in a large pan.

Step 3 - Add spices and wine

  • Scrape some space in the pan and add a splash more oil, then add the spices and stir into the oil constantly for 1 minute, allowing some of the sauce juices to absorb while stirring. Once the spices are absorbed by the oil, stir through the tomato and other veg.
    1 teaspoon of Spanish Sweet smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon of garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of white pepper, ½ teaspoon of Dried Ñora Peppers, Pink Himalayan Salt *
    Spices simmer in oil.
  • Add the white wine and stir through. If the sauce still looks dry, add a little water. Simmer for 5 minutes.
    1 cup of white wine
    sauteed tomatoes in a pan with some ham, red pepper and onion.

Step 4 - Add chicken, simmer, and serve

  • Reduce heat to low, add the browned chicken pieces to the pan, and cover them in sauce. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
    Chicken pieces added
  • Remove the cover and drizzle some of the juices from the bottom over the chicken, simmer for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. When cooked properly, the chicken should be tender and start to fall off the bone.
    A pan of Spanish chicken chilindron with lots of sauce.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 180gCalories: 322kcalCarbohydrates: 13.4gProtein: 17.9gFat: 18.7gSaturated Fat: 3.3gCholesterol: 52mgSodium: 308mgPotassium: 553mgFiber: 2.8gSugar: 6.1gCalcium: 44mgIron: 2mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, chicken, Chicken chilindron, one-pot, one-pot recipe, Red pepper, Spanish Chicken, tomato, White wine

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