This Spanish Chicken Tray Bake is one of those rich, hearty, meaty dishes with so many flavours it will leave your tastebuds dancing. If you love chorizo and juicy chicken with a little bit of char, this Spanish inspired dish with kale, olives and paprika will immediately transport you to the backstreets of Spain.
Why I love this Spanish Chicken Tray Bake
There are so many of my favourite things in this dish that it almost reminds me of a Paella in some ways, but without all the effort or time required to make a really good one. I’m also slightly obsessed with smoked paprika, and that deep red earthy colour and unmistakeable smokey flavour it imparts on whatever it’s paired with.
What is Chorizo made of?
Chorizo is a type of Spanish pork sausage. It is generally quite high in fat and seasoned with paprika, salt and pepper. Depending on the type of paprika used, that is, it could be sweet paprika, smoked paprika or hot paprika, the taste and spiciness will vary. Because of its high fat content, it adds bags of flavour to most dishes, especially when it is lightly fried off beforehand to create that beautiful caramelization.
TIP: You can pick up chorizo at most local supermarkets in Australia, generally where they keep the salamis or deli meats.
PRO TIP: If you can’t find chorizo, you could substitute it with salami. Just make sure you buy it in a roll and chop it into thick rounds like chorizo.
I also have to mention here my second obsession with the herbs rosemary and basil. I grow them in abundance in my garden and there is nothing like nipping out and grabbing a handful to chop up and dunk in your favourite dish to really bring out the hero ingredients.
Both my husband and I have been to Spain, although not together. I went on my own over 10 years ago now, and I still remember the smell of tapas, smoke coming off the grill and of course it all being washed down with slightly one too many sangrias. Spain as a single gal really was a trip of a lifetime. Just me and a backpack, and a couple of other Aussies I met along the way.
Now, my husband and I often frequent a little authentic Spanish place we’ve found close to home and indulge in cute tapas things with lots of spice and jugs of spicy fruity sangria.
Making a Spanish Chicken Tray Bake at Home
- You’ll need a skillet or fry pan to brown the chicken off before putting it into the oven. This creates the nice crusty charred bits that go so well with the chorizo
- After browning off the chicken, the chorizo should be fried off so that it also becomes caramelized on each side. Rendering off some of the fat really intensifies the flavour.
- You’ll need a large baking dish with a lid.
- The other essential players: Chickpeas, kale, olives, red onion, garlic, smoked paprika (of course), rosemary, basil, chicken broth and canned tomatoes.
With this team of ingredients, you’ll be able to put together a simple Spanish chicken dish that you can be proud of.
PRO TIP: If you don’t like a little crunch to your kale, I recommend blanching it in boiling water for 15 seconds before adding it to the casserole dish and putting it into the oven.
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Spanish Chicken Tray Bake
- 8 Skinless Chicken Thighs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 8 – 10 cherry tomatoes
- 2 cooking chorizo sausages chopped into rough pieces
- 1 medium Red onion sliced
- 2 tablespoons Garlic crushed
- 2 x 400 gram/14 ounce cans Chickpeas drained and rinsed
- 1 x 400 gram/14 ounce can of Chopped tomatoes
- 1 ¼ cup Chicken stock/broth
- 2 cups Kale thickly chopped
- ½ cup Kalamata olives chopped
- I tablespoon Chopped rosemary and basil
- 1 tablespoon Smoked paprika
- 2 cups Jasmine rice steamed
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C for fan oven/200 degrees C otherwise. (350 degrees F/390 degrees F)
- Heat a large skillet on the stove on medium heat. Add the olive oil and brown the chicken thighs thoroughly on both sides. Do a few pieces of chicken at a time until all pieces are browned.
- Once all the chicken is browned, add the chorizo pieces and brown off or a minute or two.
- In a large oven proof casserole dish, add the drained and rinsed chickpeas, kale, and cherry tomatoes. Next arrange the chicken pieces and scatter over the chorizo pieces.
- Add the canned tomatoes and chicken stock, followed by garlic , paprika, rosemary and basil.
- Stir around to ensue everything its mixed in.
- Season with salt and pepper
- Put lid on casserole dish or cover tightly with foil if you don’t have a lid.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes. Then remove the lid and cook for another 20 minutes to let the chicken crisp up and cook through.
- Serve with steamed jasmine rice.
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