How to make Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole

On one of my many travels, this time to the heart of Spain’s rustic countryside, I was fortunate enough to discover a dish that seemed to embody the very essence of traditional Spanish cooking: the Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole. This dish, with its tender chicken cutlets bathed in a rich, aromatic chicken stock and adorned with fresh basil leaves, captured both my heart and palate. Each ingredient played a pivotal role, from the succulence of the chicken absorbing the deeply flavorful broth, to the basil adding a fresh, herbal note that elevated the entire dish. Inspired by this culinary jewel, I embarked on a mission to recreate the Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole in my own kitchen. After much experimentation and fine-tuning, I succeeded in capturing the soulful flavors of Spain in my rendition of this beloved casserole. It is with great excitement and a spirit of sharing that I now offer you this recipe, hoping it brings the same warmth and satisfaction to your table as it did to mine, allowing you to savor a taste of Spain wherever you are.

Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole

The introduction to the "Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole" recipe shares a personal narrative of discovery, rooted in travels that brought the author into the heart of Spain's rich culinary landscape. The dish is celebrated for its beautifully balanced flavors, achieved through the use of fragrant basil leaves, succulent chicken cutlets, and a deeply aromatic chicken stock, which come together to conjure the essence of traditional Spanish cooking. Motivated by this enchanting encounter, the author embarked on a culinary quest to replicate the dish, an adventure that was both challenging and exhilarating. This journey culminated in the mastery of the Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole, a dish that embodies the warmth and complexity of Spain's gastronomic culture. Eager to share this treasured find, the author extends an invitation to readers to embark on their own exploration of Spanish cuisine, offering the casserole recipe as a gateway to experiencing the authentic and vibrant flavors that Spain has to offer.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Spanish
Servings 6 people
Calories 865 kcal


  • 1 oven


  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 cup stuffed pimento olives
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 can cannellini beans
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 chicken thigh cutlets
  • 2 cans tomatoes
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 white onion


  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • In a huge slow cooker, heat the oil over moderate flame.
  • For a few minutes, sauté the cloves and vegetables until they are translucent.
  • Cook for a few minutes after adding the chicken thighs.
  • With the exception of the basil leaves, combine all of the remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • 5 minutes on top of the burner, heat until softly bubbling.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F and bake for 45 minutes on average.
  • Serve with carrots or cabbage rice.
Keyword cayenne pepper, dried oregano, pimento olives

Cooking Tips about Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole

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  • Quality Ingredients: The foundation of a great Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole lies in the quality of its ingredients. Opt for fresh basil leaves, high-quality chicken cutlets, and rich, flavorful chicken stock. These elements bring depth and authenticity to your dish.
  • Searing the Chicken: Begin by searing the chicken cutlets to a golden brown. This not only enhances the texture but also locks in flavors, providing a base that will infuse the casserole with a deliciously rich taste.
  • Layering Flavors: Sauté onions and garlic until they are translucent to form a flavor base. Then, integrate the basil leaves early enough so their essence permeates the entire dish, but be careful to maintain their vibrant color and freshness.
  • Chicken Stock: Use a homemade or high-quality store-bought chicken stock. The richness of the stock is crucial as it reduces and combines with the juices from the chicken and other ingredients, creating an aromatic and savory sauce that defines this casserole.
  • Casserole Assembly: Arrange the chicken and any additional ingredients, such as potatoes or seasonal vegetables, in a heavy casserole dish in an even layer. Pour over the chicken stock mixture, ensuring that it comes up around but not over the chicken pieces, allowing them to roast beautifully on top while the liquid beneath creates a moist environment for the flavors to meld.
  • Herb Balance: Apart from basil, consider incorporating rosemary or thyme for added complexity without overwhelming the inherent flavors of the main ingredients. These should be added judiciously, considering their strong profiles.
  • Slow Cooking: Cook your casserole slowly and covered at first to tenderize the chicken and amalgamate the flavors, then uncover towards the end to reduce the sauce and concentrate the flavors, as well as to crisp up the top of the chicken.
  • Rest Before Serving: Allowing the casserole to rest for a few minutes after taking it out of the oven lets the juices redistribute, ensuring that every bite is succulent and full of flavor.
  • Garnishing and Serving: Just before serving, garnish with fresh basil leaves for a burst of color and freshness. Serve directly from the casserole dish to maintain the rustic charm and simplicity of this meal.

Serving suggestions about Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole

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  • Earthenware Dish Presentation: Serve the casserole in a traditional earthenware dish or a cast-iron skillet straight from the oven to the table. These materials not only retain heat well but also add to the rustic appeal of the dish. The sight of the bubbling sauce and the golden-browned chicken will whet the appetite of your guests before they even take their first bite.
  • Garnishing for Elegance and Flavor: Just before serving, sprinkle freshly chopped parsley or cilantro over the top of the casserole. This adds a splash of color and a fresh taste that complements the rich flavors of the dish. A few lemon wedges on the side can offer guests the option to add a touch of acidity to brighten the dish.
  • Simple Side Dishes: To accompany the casserole, consider simple side dishes that won’t overshadow the main event. A light, crisp green salad dressed with a vinaigrette or a selection of roasted vegetables can balance the heartiness of the casserole. Crusty bread is also essential for dipping into the flavorful sauce.
  • Wine Pairing: Choose a Spanish red wine like a Rioja or a Tempranillo to pair with the casserole. These wines complement the depth and richness of the dish without overpowering it. For a lighter pairing, a Garnacha offers fruity notes that can accentuate the flavors of the casserole beautifully.
  • Ambient Setting: Create an inviting dining atmosphere by incorporating elements reminiscent of Spanish decor—think warm, earthy tones and simple, rustic tableware. Playing some flamenco guitar music softly in the background can further enhance the ambiance, making the meal feel like an escape to the Spanish countryside.
  • Dessert Pairing: Conclude the meal with a traditional Spanish dessert to maintain the theme. Options like flan, churros with chocolate dipping sauce, or almond cake (tarta de Santiago) are delightful choices that offer a sweet end to a savory feast.
  • Engage Your Guests: Encourage conversation about the origins of the dish, the ingredients used, and the process of preparing it. Sharing stories or experiences from trips to Spain or other Mediterranean countries can add an extra layer of enjoyment to the meal, making it an engaging and memorable experience for all involved.

Top 5 FAQs about Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole

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  • What Makes Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole “Rustic”? The term “rustic” in Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole refers to the simple, homely style of cooking that emphasizes the natural flavors of the ingredients without needing elaborate preparation or presentation. Ingredients like basil leaves, chicken cutlets, and a rich chicken stock are used to create a dish that is deeply flavorful and comforting, embodying the essence of traditional Spanish home cooking.
  • Can I Use Dry Basil Instead of Fresh Basil Leaves? While fresh basil leaves are preferred for their vibrant color and fresh flavor, which are key to achieving the authentic taste of this casserole, dry basil can be used as a substitute if fresh basil isn’t available. Keep in mind that dried herbs are more potent, so use them sparingly, typically one-third of the amount called for fresh.
  • What Type of Chicken Cut Should I Use? Chicken cutlets are recommended for their quick cooking time and ability to absorb the flavors of the broth and herbs. However, you can also use chicken thighs or breasts cut into smaller pieces if you prefer. The key is to ensure that the chicken is tender and fully infused with the dish’s aromatic flavors.
  • Can I Make This Casserole Vegetarian? To adapt the Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole into a vegetarian dish, substitute the chicken with a hearty vegetable, such as portobello mushrooms or eggplant, and use a rich vegetable stock instead of chicken stock. This will still allow you to enjoy the fragrant basil and the robust sauce characteristic of the dish.
  • How Should I Serve Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole? This casserole is best served hot, directly from the oven. You can accompany it with a simple side of roasted vegetables, a salad dressed with olive oil and lemon, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce. Garnishing with additional fresh basil leaves just before serving adds a final touch of freshness that elevates the flavors further.

As we conclude our exploration of Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole, we delve into the heart of what makes this dish truly extraordinary. It’s a manifestation of rustic Spanish culinary traditions, brought to life through the simplicity and purity of its ingredients—fresh basil leaves, tender chicken cutlets, and deeply flavorful chicken stock—each contributing its own voice to the harmonious choir of flavors that define this casserole. This journey from discovering the dish in the rich tapestry of Spain’s countryside to mastering its preparation in our own kitchens mirrors a broader journey of cultural and gastronomic appreciation. The Rustic Spanish Chicken Casserole, with its hearty warmth and enveloping flavors, does more than just feed the body; it nourishes the soul, bringing people together in a shared experience of joy and satisfaction.


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