- a blog about food and value

Spanish Supper Club

wineStill on an Iberian high, we organised a Spanish supper club during our stay on Rercy and Dave’s farm last week. I made a few pinxtos: pickled chillies with an anchovy and olive on a stick. I’ve seen those green pickled chillies in Lidl, and I picked up ten of them in Timgad on the South Circular Road for about 50c. By God, they’re heaven-sent. We also had some Serrano ham which we brough back from Bilbao.

This served five of us, with a little left over. It’s also a spectacular looking dish – the chicken takes on deep, rich, purple hues – but I didn’t have my camera with me.

Chicken, Rioja, Garlic, Bay Leaves

I prepared a fantastic dish of Chicken in Rioja with Garlic, a version of which I’d seen in the Avoca cookbook . We all argued at length about whether a high quality wine is necessary for cooking, or whether a relatively standard bottle will do. The high-quality wine won out.

We used a free-range chicken which I picked up in Aldi for €5, and jointed it. There’s very few ingredients in this dish so it all rests on the quality of the chicken; I wouldn’t normally say this, but the meat should be at least free-range.


  • 1 whole free-range or organic chicken, broken into joints
  • 5-6 bay leaves
  • 2 whole heads of garlic, unbroken
  • 1/2- 3/4 bottle of Rioja red wine
  • Salt and pepper


  • Brown the chicken joints in salt and pepper in a deep pan or pot
  • Pour in the wine, the whole garlic cloves, and the bay leaves
  • Leave to simmer for 30 minutes
  • Serve with lots of crusty bread for dipping


  1. “I wouldn’t normally say this, but the meat should be at least free-range.” Why would you not normally say that? Chicken should be always at least free range!

    As for the wine, I always go with Ian Parmenters’ adage; if its not goood enough to drink, its not good enough to cook.

  2. Hi Claire. I always buy only free-range or organic chicken (although it’s not as simple in a restaurant), but I wouldn’t normally say it on this site because I try not to sound TOO preachy; it is cheap eats after all!
    But definitely agree about the wine, it’s a damned lie that you can use cheap plonk for cooking and it’s just as good!

  3. Fair dues Peter. Although I eat meat, I do want the animal that feeds me to have had a good life until it meets me. 🙂

  4. When in Spain I buy jars and jars of the sort of thing you made out of the olive, anchovy and pickled chilli. Difference being that on these sticks there is pickled onion, pickled chilli, pickled pepper and possibly something else that I can quite remember. The juice itself is mainly vinegar and very little sugar (which seems to be the opposite here). Do you know the things I’m talking about and if so, is there anywhere I can buy them here in Dublin? I can eat pickled anything by the jar if it’s very sharp, I hate that lots of “pickles” here contain heaps of sugar!

  5. I know what you mean Nic. Perhaps buy pickled foods in Polish stores instead?