Smoked paprika—or pimentón, as it’s known in Spain—adds flavor to both the crispy chicken skin and the sauce it’s cooked in. This tender, sort-of braised chicken needs to be served with warm white rice to soak up that rich sauce. Garnish with chopped cilantro for freshness in taste and color.
• 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour, divided
• 1/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
• 3 teaspoons paprika (pimentón), divided
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1 whole 4-pound chicken, cut into parts
• Salt and black pepper
• 3 medium lemons, zested and halved
• 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
• 1 large fennel bulb, halved, thinly sliced and broken or cut into strips similar to sliced onion
• 12 whole garlic cloves, peeled and halved
• 3/4 cup pitted green olives, halved if big
• 1 pinch ground cinnamon
• 2 tablespoons dry sherry • 1 cup whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
• 1 cup white wine
• 1 bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
• Warm white rice
Heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine 1/2 cup flour, pecorino cheese and 1 teaspoon smoked paprika in a large bowl.
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven or large, heavy pot. Dry the chicken with paper towels as this will help the skin brown nicely. Season chicken generously with salt and pepper on all sides. Dredge the chicken in the flour mixture and place a couple of pieces of chicken in the pot. Cook until golden brown and crispy, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Cook the chicken in batches to avoid overcrowding the pot. Use tongs to flip the chicken pieces, and set the crispy chicken on a plate to wait.
Juice three lemons (over a strainer) into a large bowl and add zest. Add the onion, fennel, garlic, olives, 2 teaspoons of smoked paprika, cinnamon and sherry. Pour the mixture into the pot that was used for the chicken and cook on medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until softened — about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of flour. Cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes or until mixture is thickened. Stir in the tomatoes and wine. Bring to a boil, and let it cook for 2 minutes.
Tuck the chicken back into the pot, skin side up. Try to arrange the pieces so they are completely surrounded by the sauce, leaving the tops out so the skin stays crispy. Place the uncovered pot into the oven and bake until the chicken is cooked through, 30 minutes.