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Spanish Chicken In Smoky Bravas Sauce (Spicy Recipe)

Written By: Byron | August 7, 2023
A pan of Spanish chicken with smoky Bravas sauce sits at a table setting.

No foray into Spanish cuisine is complete without visiting the much-loved and cherished Spanish chicken in smoky Bravas sauce. This humble recipe is loaded with flavor and takes you straight to the Mediterranean. A rich spiciness from the homemade bravas sauce flavors the chicken pieces to perfection. 

With a cook time of around 1 hour, this is a delicious Spanish chicken recipe you can’t live without. Without further ado, get your skillets ready, today we make a recipe we are sure will impress: Let’s make Spanish Chicken In A Smoky Bravas Sauce! 

This deliciously simple Spanish Chicken recipe makes a main meal serving for 4 with the quantities below and is best served with steamed rice or lots of fresh bread to mop up the delicious spicy bravas sauce.

Main Meal Recipes | Chicken Recipe | Bravas | Easy Recipe | Healthy | Mediterranean Recipe | Made in under 1 hour | Spicy Recipe

Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

~1 hour

Skill level:

Easy/Moderate

Serve with:

Fresh bread/ Steamed rice

Ingredients used to make Spanish Chicken in a Smoky bravas sauce are laid out on a table.

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How To Make Spanish Chicken In A Smoky Bravas Sauce

Ingredients

(Serves 4 as a main)

  • 4 chicken pieces (thighs, breast, or leg all work just fine). 
  • 1 onion, chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
  • 1.5 cups white beans (canned)
  • 1/2 cup black olives 
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • Pink Himalayan Salt (to taste)
  • Cracked black pepper (to taste)

For the bravas sauce

  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish La Vera Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (add more for a thicker consistency)
  • 1-2 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon Jerez Sherry Vinegar

Equipment needed

Method

Step 1 – Prepare Bravas Sauce

  • Prepare and heat vegetable or chicken stock.
  • In a large pan or skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, if it is smoking it is too hot. Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute or until they become golden. 
  • Remove the garlic from the pan and discard. Reduce heat to low.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir through, then add the smoked paprika, red pepper (chili) flakes. Mix into the oil until you get a paste.
  • Add a little of the all-purpose flour at a time and stir to combine. Once the flour is absorbed, slowly add the  broth and keep stirring constantly until the broth is incorporated. This should take around 3 minutes. 
  • Keep stirring and adding stock until you have the desired consistency (add more stock for a thinner sauce), then remove from the heat.
  • Add the sherry vinegar, and stir through. Your sauce will thicken slightly while standing. 

Step 2 – Brown Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400°F(200°C).
  • Sprinkle chicken pieces with Spanish paprika, garlic powder, white pepper, and salt on both sides 
  • Add a little oil to the pan with a few tablespoons of bravas sauce. 
  • Brown chicken in a skillet. If Note: If your chicken pieces are large, cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. 
  • Once chicken pieces are browned, remove from the pan and set aside.

Step 3 – Cook Veggies

  • In the same pan used to cook the chicken, add the chopped onion, sliced red peppers, and sliced garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the veggies start to soften. 
  • Add the Jerez vinegar, black olives, white beans, a few tablespoons of the Bravas sauce, and some veggie stock. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Next, take around half of the pan ingredients and set aside. Add the browned chicken pieces on top of the ingredients in the pan. Sprinkle the other half of the veg around the chicken then pour the Bravas sauce over the chicken pieces. 
  • Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve with some steamed rice or lots of fresh bread to mop up the delicious sauce. 

 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.

What is Bravas Sauce?

Bravas sauce, also known as salsa brava, is a popular Spanish sauce commonly used as a condiment for various dishes, especially in tapas cuisine. If you’ve spent any time in Spain, it’s likely you’ve come across the tasty bravas sauce.

It is often associated with the classic Spanish tapas dish “patatas bravas,” which consists of fried potato chunks served with bravas sauce on top. Bravas sauce is characterized by its vibrant reddish-orange color, which comes from tomatoes and smoked Spanish paprika. The sauce is known for its rich and slightly spicy flavor profile.

The main ingredients in bravas sauce typically include tomatoes or tomato paste, red bell peppers, olive oil, garlic, vinegar, and a combination of spices such as paprika, cayenne pepper, and chili flakes

Bravas translates “fierce” in Spanish and offers an idea of the deep, spicy flavors that have made this sauce so popular.

How Spicy is Bravas Sauce?

Bravas sauce is intended to be mildly spicy. It will have just enough heat for you to notice, but not to overpower the other flavors in the recipe. Spice intensity can easily be adjusted to suit personal taste. Simply add or omit the desired amount of chili to suit. For a layered spiced flavor, add some cayenne pepper.

A pan of Spanish chicken with smoky Bravas sauce sits at a table setting.

Which Chicken Cuts to Use in This Recipe

We opted for on-bone chicken pieces with the skin on. They are full of flavor and usually a pretty cheap (and easy) cut of chicken to source at your local supermarket or butcher. Chicken thighs or skinless chicken breasts would also work just fine, you’ll just need to adjust the cooking time to suit if the cuts of chicken are large. Whenever possible, use sustainably sourced free-range chicken.

More Spanish Chicken Recipes

Here at Spanish Radish HQ, we love a good Spanish chicken recipe, and this one has quickly become one of our favorites. Rich and spicy bravas sauce combined with some gently simmered veg and lightly browned chicken is a flavor combination of smoky and rich simmered ingredients that are deeply satisfying.

More Spanish Chicken recipes, with love from Spain!

 

Cooking With Spanish Paprika

The three main types of Spanish paprika available are generally hot, smoked, and sweet. If you’re used to buying paprika in a supermarket and it’s just labeled ‘paprika’, it’s a safe bet that it’s your sweet variety.

  • Hot paprika (Pimentón Picante)
  • Smoked paprika (Pimentón de la Vera)
  • Sweet paprika (Pimentón Dulce)

For this recipe, we make the Bravas sauce with smoked paprika, which gives this dish a delicious smoky flavor. The undisputed king of smoked paprika in Spain has to be Pimentón de la Vera (Spanish Smoked paprika from the La Vera region of Extremadura, western Spain. 

Pimentón de la Vera works well in meat dishes (try this smoky sweet potato chorizo recipe), stews, rice dishes, and soups. It can also be sprinkled on meals for added color and flavor. Once you taste it, it becomes quite addictive. We also love it in vegan and vegetarian dishes because of the bold smoky taste (this is our favorite example – Chickpea stew / Potaje de garbanzos).

The best thing about paprika, as well as its incredible taste, is that it’s ridiculously healthy. Win-win!

FAQs And Cooking Tips

How long does chicken take to cook in the oven?

Around 25-30 minutes at 400°F(200°C). According to the USDA guidelines for cooked chicken, chicken should reach a minimum internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) for safe consumption. Always check your chicken is properly cooked before serving. 

Best chicken pieces to use for this Spanish chicken recipe?

We used skin-on whole chicken legs. They are dark meat and have a lot of flavor. The chicken skin also crisps nicely when browned in a pan and then baked in the oven. 

What is the origin of bravas sauce? 

The bravas sauce originates from Madrid, Spain.

Is Bravas sauce spicy?

Yes, Bravas sauce is intended to be mildly spicy, and the intensity of spiciness can easily be adjusted to suit individual tastes by adding more or less chili.  

How long does bravas sauce take to make?

Bravas sauce is very easy to make and only requires around 10 minutes to prepare and cook. 

What can I use as a substitute for smoked paprika in the bravas sauce? 

Substitute smoked paprika with regular paprika, the flavor will be slightly different and will be less smoky.

A pan of Spanish chicken with smoky Bravas sauce sits at a table setting.

Nutrition Facts

Servings: 4
Amount per serving  
Calories 538
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 41.9g 54%
Saturated Fat 7.9g 40%
Cholesterol 95mg 32%
Sodium 501mg 22%
Total Carbohydrate 19.8g 7%
Dietary Fiber 5.2g 19%
Total Sugars 5.3g  
Protein 25.4g  
Vitamin D 0mcg 0%
Calcium 99mg 8%
Iron 4mg 23%
Potassium 440mg 9%
*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 pan of Spanish chicken with smoky Bravas sauce sits at a table setting.

Spanish Chicken In Smoky Bravas Sauce (Spicy Recipe)

Byron
No foray into Spanish cuisine is complete without visiting the much-loved and cherished Spanish chicken in smoky Bravas sauce. This humble recipe is loaded with flavor and takes you straight back to the summertime. A rich spiciness from the homemade bravas sauce flavors the chicken pieces to perfection.
With a cook time of around 1 hour, this delicious Spanish chicken recipe can be made in one pan. Without further ado, get your skillets ready, today we make a recipe we are sure will impress: Let’s make Spanish Chicken In A Smoky Bravas Sauce!
This recipe makes a main meal serving for 4 and is best served with steamed rice or lots of fresh to mop up the delicious spicy bravas sauce.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Course dinner, Main Course, meat
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 4 Main
Calories 538 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large pan or 12 inch skillet
  • 1 medium-sized bowl
  • 1 pan (for the stock)
  • Ladle and Sieve or mesh strainer

Ingredients

  • 4 chicken pieces thighs, breast, or leg all work just fine.
  • 1 onion chopped fine
  • 4 cloves garlic sliced fine
  • 1 red bell pepper sliced into thin strips
  • 1.5 cups white beans canned
  • 1/2 cup black olives
  • 1 tbsp Jerez sherry vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp white pepper
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste
  • Cracked black pepper to taste

For the bravas sauce

  • ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 garlic cloves sliced
  • 2-3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon Spanish La Vera Smoked Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour add more for a thicker consistency
  • 1-2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon Jerez Sherry Vinegar

Instructions
 

Step 1 - Prepare Bravas Sauce

  • Heat some water in a pot and prepare vegetable stock.
    1-2 cups vegetable stock
    A large pot of homemade chicken stock
  • In a large pan or skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium heat, if it is smoking it is too hot. Add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute or until they become golden.
    ¼ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 2 garlic cloves
    Some sliced garlic cooks inn a pan witth some olive oil.
  • Remove the garlic from the pan and discard the garlic. Reduce heat to low.
    Some browned garlic is removed from a pan of oil.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir through, then add the smoked paprika, red pepper (chili) flakes. Mix into the oil until you get a paste.
    2-3 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon Spanish La Vera Smoked Paprika, 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    Tomato paste is added to hot oil in a large pan.
  • Add a little of the all-purpose flour at a time and stir to combine. Once the flour is absorbed, slowly add the vegetable broth and keep stirring constantly until the broth is incorporated. This should take around 3- minutes.
    1-2 tablespoons all-purpose flour, 1-2 cups vegetable stock
    Flour is added to a pan.
  • Remove from the heat once you have the desired consistency. Add the sherry vinegar, and stir through. Your sauce will thicken slightly while standing.
    1 tablespoon Jerez Sherry Vinegar
    Bravas sauce is stirred in a pan.

Step 2 - Brown Chicken

  • Preheat oven to 400°F(200°C).
    Sprinkle chicken pieces with Spanish paprika, garlic powder, white pepper, and salt on both sides
    4 chicken pieces, 1 tsp garlic powder, 1/2 tsp white pepper
    Some chicken pieces covered in paprika and salt.
  • Add a little oil to the pan with a few tablespoons of bravas sauce.
    1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
    Bravas sauce is added to some oil in a pan.
  • Brown chicken in a skillet. If Note: If your chicken pieces are large, cook them in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.
    browned chicken pieces in a pan.
  • Once chicken pieces are browned, remove them from the pan and set aside.
    Browned chicken pieces on a plate.

Step 3 - Cook Veggies

  • In the same pan used to cook the chicken, add the chopped onion, sliced red peppers, and sliced garlic. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the veggies start to soften.
    1 onion, 1 red bell pepper, 4 cloves garlic
    Veggies added to a pan.
  • Add the Jerez vinegar, black olives, white beans, a few tablespoons of the Bravas sauce, and some veggie stock. Stir well and simmer for 5 minutes.
    1.5 cups white beans, 1/2 cup black olives, 1 tbsp Jerez sherry vinegar
    Some black olives and white beans are added to a pan of simmering veggies.
  • Next, take around half of the pan ingredients and set aside. Add the browned chicken pieces on top of the ingredients in the pan. Sprinkle the other half of the veg around the chicken then pour the Bravas sauce over the chicken pieces. Season to taste with salt.
    Cracked black pepper, Pink Himalayan Salt
    Browned chicken pieces are added to a pan with some simmered veggies.
  • Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes. Serve with some steamed rice or lots of fresh bread to mop up the delicious sauce.
    A pan of Spanish chicken with smoky Bravas sauce sits at a table setting.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 300gCalories: 538kcalCarbohydrates: 19.8gProtein: 25.4gFat: 41.9gSaturated Fat: 7.9gCholesterol: 95mgSodium: 501mgPotassium: 440mgFiber: 5.2gSugar: 5.3gCalcium: 99mgIron: 4mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, authentic Spanish cuisine, baked Chicken, bravas sauce, caramel sauce, Chicken drumsticks, Chicken thighs, mediterranean, mediterranean cuisine, oven roasted, Oven-baked, patatas bravas, Spanish Chicken

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