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updated: 1/19/2012 1:23 PM

Basque-style chicken stew

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  • Hearty Basque-style chicken dish is easy enough for midweek dinners.

    Hearty Basque-style chicken dish is easy enough for midweek dinners.
    Alicia Ross/Kitchen Scoop


Six months ago, I spent the summer in Paris. While I cooked quite a bit in my small but efficient apartment kitchen, it was the plethora of restaurants right outside my door that I was really interested in. I sampled every one I could (my explorations are chronicled on

Some I long to repeat; others, like breaking a tooth on my first escargot, not so much.

But today I want to focus on a dish I had one day at lunch, Poulet de Basquaise. The Basque Country, lying along the Pyrenees Mountains between France and Spain, has long been known for its distinctive cuisine, which has become popular in both countries as well as internationally. Even as other haute cuisines have influenced traditional Basque cooking, the roots of hearty stews, tomatoes and peppers are still present, even in the fusion dishes.

What I enjoyed last summer was probably a combination of nouveau French and Basque cuisines. But whatever you call it, it was moist and tender, fall-apart chicken stewed in tomatoes and red peppers with a nice peppery kick at the end of every bite. Served over rice, it was a meal unto itself.

My quickie version of Chicken Basquaise is darn close to the original. It's perfect as a midweek meal or perhaps even a wintertime stew for weekend guests. No matter how you serve it, it is sure to please any appetite and have everyone coming back for more. Enjoy!

Suggested menu: Chicken Basquaise over yellow rice with Romaine hearts and cherry tomato salad and sliced baguette with softened butter.

• Alicia Ross is the co-author of "Desperation Dinners" cookbook series. Write her at Kitchen Scoop, c/o Universal Uclick, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106, or More at the Kitchen Scoop website,

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