Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chicken Costa Brava

All righty, now here's something that's a far cry from our typical New England Yankee fare, Chicken Costa Brava. I'm always on the lookout for new chicken recipes as we eat a lot of chicken here, but we're also limited in what new recipes are tried as one of us (hint: not me) is reluctant to try new combinations of flavors and new ingredients. I can't lay claim to knowledge of what prompted me to try this, as the addition of cumin and cinnamon to a chicken dish was deemed to have a dubious welcome, but surprise of all surprises, we both enjoy this.

I found this recipe on Allrecipes and I see that reviewers refer to the flavors as being a party in your mouth, having complex flavors, or having a melody of flavors. I like the description of a melody of flavors, as I can taste each ingredient individually, the sweet, the salty, the earthy and spicy, each full and bright, like individual notes, and yet they come together in perfect harmony. Okay, enough musical allusions.

I followed the recipe as written, with the exception of reducing the amount of chicken to only four thighs, which made for a lot of sauce. As a result this was probably more like a stew, but I just love the sauce poured onto rice.

If you'd like to spice up your life just a little, here's the recipe.

Chicken Costa Brava

1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained, liquid reserved
10 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion cut into thick chunks
1 (14.5 ounce) can stewed tomatoes, undrained
2 cups black olives, drained
1/2 cup salsa
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
salt to taste

Drain the pineapple and reserve the liquid. The directions say to sprinkle with salt, but are not specific as to what gets sprinkled with salt, the pineapple or the juice. I personally added it to the juice so that it could cook with the chicken when the liquids are added.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan, then add the chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides.

Combine cumin and cinnamon, and sprinkle over chicken. Add garlic and onion; cook until onion is soft. Stir occasionally so that the onions and chicken don't stick and burn to the pan. Drain excess oil and grease.

Add reserved pineapple juice, tomatoes, olives, and salsa. Cover, and simmer 25 minutes.

Mix cornstarch with water; stir into pan juices.

Add bell pepper, and simmer until sauce boils and thickens. Stir in pineapple chunks, and heat through.

And believe it or not, I think I might even like a little more cumin and cinnamon in this.


  1. oh yeah... now this is a ... stew you say... OK, this is a stew for a cold winter day... hey, today is a cold winter day. Bring me a bowl (wear a hat to cover your ears)

  2. Hi Katy,
    This is a perfect dish for winter. I'm sure the magic mixture of cumin, cinnamon and pineapple have absolutely boosted the flavours even more, and created an absolutely outstanding dish. I love it. You're amazing!

  3. Oh Katy, I'm intriged by this dish and all the different flavors...I will be trying this soon as we eat alot of chicken too and this dish sounds not only different, but healthy as well. I can use a healthy meal after all the rich foods we have this time of year! :)
    I'm bookmarking this so I don't forget it! Thanks my friend.

  4. This really looks beautiful and the ingredients make it interesting. What a nice recipe!

  5. Nice recipe Katy, interesting recipe with interesting ingredients..Cumin and cinnamon is nice combo with chicken...Will definitely try to cook this soon.

  6. LOL, my kids are the daring ones when it comes to trying new things. :) With that said I've overcooked chicken so much in the past that one of the twins thinks he doesn't like chicken. :)

    Your chicken dish is so colorful. You need to toss in some green veggies and it would be very festive looking. Btw, love the idea of pineapple in this.

  7. This looks wonderful Katy! So full of delicious flavors! I love the sweetness from the pineapple with the savory and salty flavors. And it looks so comforting!

  8. Perfect food for this climate....Nice clicks dear.....

  9. That looks fabulous. Lots of sauce is a good thing! I sometimes put cinnamon in curry, but I find the taste takes a little getting used to. Probably because my tastebuds still associate cinnamon with sweet and not savory dishes.

  10. This sounds wonderful and it's so pretty! Thanks for sharing - I think I'll try it this weekend :)

  11. A party in your mouth? Now, I have to make this. I love the flavors and we eat A LOT of chicken also. A LOT. Delicious, Katy!

  12. I love cinnamon and cumin together and this looks like a great dish. It's so colorful and pretty on the rice. I'm trying this pronto!

  13. Yum, it looks like a party on your plate too!

  14. This should have been a cinch to get past your picky eater after the pork and beans in the cake!

    This looks fantastic and like something i would really like to try!

  15. Oh my goodness! Your description had me drooling! I think that this sounds wonderful. Now to search my freezer for some chicken. I really wanna try this one! Thanks, Katy!

  16. Katy,
    This looks delicious,the cinnamon and cumin sound incredible. I make it a rule never to tell my family the ingredients, until the dish has been tasted.

  17. I have made this recipe before and absolutely loved it. (This is way before the blog though!). The sweet and salty is fabulous with the pineapple and olives and it is SUCH a colorful dish. Yum!

  18. What a wonderful chicken dish! I love the sweet and savory combo!

  19. Katy! This sounds delicious. I would love to make this one. (I so love cumin).

  20. I also like to try different ways to prepare the chicken.Chicken Costa Brava is something new to me. Gotta find a chance to give it a try!

  21. This sounds like a great new recipe for me to make. Since, we have chicken, once a week, I like to change the way I make it. You always come through.

  22. Oh you know I am liking that recipe! Grin. Great one...glad you are a bit adventuresome there my dear friend Katy!

  23. Oh Katy,

    This dish looks so pretty and colorful. I've no doubt it would taste as wonderful as it looks.

  24. This looks quite tasty Katypi!



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