Chicken Tenders with Romesco Sauce

Adapted via Kim O’Donnel
Serves: 4 to 6

For Romesco sauce:
♦ 2 red bell peppers, roasted, peeled, and seeded
♦ 3 dried ancho chile peppers, soaked for 1 hour, drained and seeded
♦ 1/2- to 1-inch piece fresh serrano or jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
♦ 2 cloves garlic, minced
♦ 1/2 cup almonds and/or hazelnuts, roasted
♦ 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
♦ 2 to 3 plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded (can use canned whole plum tomatoes, drained)
♦ 2 tsp red wine vinegar or lemon juice
♦ 1/2 tsp salt
♦ 1/4 tsp cayenne
♦ 1/4 tsp smoked paprika

For chicken:
♦ 4 lbs chicken tenders, cut into bite-sized pieces
♦ 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt (plain)
♦ 1/2 cup olive oil
♦ 1 tsp salt
♦ 1/2 tsp oregano
♦ 1 tbsp lemon juice

Make the sauce: In a food processor, pulse the dried chilies first, then add the bell peppers along with the garlic, nut, and breadcrumbs. Pulse until combined but still chunky.

Add the rest of the ingredients, and pulse to combine. The mixture will emulsify quickly. The sauce should be thick but also have a slightly viscous quality. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of water if needed, but don’t over-pulse. The sauce will keep, stored in the refrigerator, for up to 5 days. The taste become immensely better with time, so I recommend making the sauce a day ahead of time to allow the flavors to meld.

Marinate the chicken: combine all ingredients (except the chicken) in a large resealable bag. Add the chicken, and stir to coat. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours (no more).

Cook the chicken: remove the chicken from the marinade. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and add a touch of oil. Sauté the tenders until done, about 4 minutes per side. Allow to cool slightly, and toss with just over 1 cup of the sauce. Serve with extra sauce on the side, and a good hearty slice of bread to mop it up!

Read more about this dish and my musical pairing by clicking HERE

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