Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives

Basque-Style Chicken simmered in an easy sauce with roasted chili peppers, ham, tomatoes, garlic, and olives. Makes a warming, hearty dinner on a chilly night.

  • Prep time: 20 minutes
  • Cook time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings


  • 3 mild chili peppers (Anaheim, poblanos, Fresno, or another variety)
  • Olive oil, for sprinkling
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 pound (one thick piece) baked ham, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 jalapeño or other small hot chili pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup pitted green olives, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


1 Roast the chiles: Turn on the broiler and set a rack about 5 inches from the broiler element. Brush the chiles with enough oil to lightly coat. Broil for 5 minutes, turning several times, or until they are charred. (Alternatively, roast the chiles on the open flame of a gas stovetop.)

Transfer to a bowl, cover with a plate to help steam and soften the skins, and set aside for 5 minutes.

Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives

2 Peel the chiles: Carefully pull the charred skin of the chili by hand. Cut the chile open, remove and discard the seeds, and chop coarsely.

Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives

3 Brown the chicken: Trim away the excess fat from the thighs. Sprinkle all over with salt and pepper.

In a large deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add half of thighs, skin side down. Cook for 4 minutes, or until golden on the undersides. Turn and brown the other sides for 3 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a bowl. Brown the remaining thighs in the same way. Transfer the thighs to the bowl.

Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives

4 Make the sauce: Discard all but 2 tablespoons fat from the pan. Add the onion, ham, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes until the onions have started to soften. Add the roasted chiles and jalapeño. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and stock. Use a wooden spatula to scrape up the dark glaze from the bottom of the pan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and partially cover. Simmer 5 minutes.

Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives

5 Cook the chicken: Return all the chicken to the pan, skin side up, along with any juices in the bowl. It’s ok if the thighs are a tight fit. Spoon some of the sauce over the chicken. Return to a boil, lower the heat, and partially cover.

Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, opaque, and registers 165°F with a digital thermometer.

6 Finish and serve: Taste the sauce for seasoning and add more salt and black pepper, if you like. Sprinkle the dish with the chopped olives and parsley. Serve hot.

Basque-Style Chicken with Peppers and Olives

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  • Maria

    muy bueno, lo conine anoche y lo disfrutamos muchisimo. gracias


  • Dawn

    I made this for Sunday night dinner. The only changes I made were I exchanged the onion and garlic for chives and garlic oil (to make it low FODMAP) and I used British back bacon (like thicker Canadian bacon), because I had some in the fridge. I added 2 deseeded and roasted jalapeños too. It was amazingly delicious. We served it with cubed sautéed potatoes, as suggested. Very good side dish. I think it would also be great with Spanish rice, or even mashed potatoes. We will definitely make this again. Great recipe, thank you.


  • Christine Brusseau

    Made this using Italian sausage and it was excellent! Difficult to obtain Poblano chilies here so I used hot crushed chilies instead. Served over rice cooked in chicken stock. A keeper

  • Gary

    Definitely planning to make this. What can replace the ham with? Smoked turkey or pastrami perhaps?

  • Betty

    Does the recipe make enough sauce to serve over polenta or pasta?

    • Sheryl Julian

      It’s plenty saucy. I like to stick to foods that might be served in the region in which the dish is made. In this case, try roasted cubes of potatoes.

  • Kevin

    Do you serve this on it own ?

  • Twinkle

    This looks and sounds lovely! If you wanted to try something slightly spicier, what chilis would you recommend?

    • Sheryl Julian

      Funny that you’re asking this on the exact day I went to the market to buy the ingredients and decided that I wanted a hotter version. Add 2 jalapenoes and if you taste the dish after cooking and want more heat, add some crushed red peppers and simmer a few minutes longer. It’s easier to add heat than to tone down the finished dish if it’s too hot.