As early as the Renaissance, Portugal was a leading exporter of goods throughout Europe. As they began to venture further around the world in search of spices to trade, they needed to stabilize the wines they carried during these long and bumpy excursions. By the early 1600s, industrious merchants in the Douro Valley, Portugal’s premier wine growing region, solved the problem. They found that by adding brandy to red table wine, they could stabilize the wine and keep it from spoiling during long trips at sea. Suffice it to say, sailors had no qualms about signing up for the brutal long trips they would be taking when port wine was on board.
Chicken Bites with Port and Paprika
- Large heavy-bottomed skillet
- Slotted spoon
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced
- 3 tbsp Port wine
- 2 Bay leaves, crumbled
- 2 tbsp Extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tsp Sweet paprika, smoke if available
- ½ tsp Kosher salt
- 1 lb Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch chunks
- ½ cup Finely diced onion
- ½ cup Cilantro leaves, roughly chopped
- In a plastic freezer bag, combine the garlic, bay leaves, port, 1 tbsp olive oil, vinegar, and salt. Add the chicken chunks and massage into the ingredients. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.
- Scatter the chopped cilantro around the bottom of a serving plate.
- Heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet or wok. With a slotted spoon, scoop chicken pieces out of the marinade into the pan in a single layer. Brown untouched on bottom for about 3 minutes then stir for another 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving plate with slotted spoon laying chicken on top of cilantro.
- Add onion to remain liquid in pan and cook until soft, another 2 minutes or-so. Scoop onions over chicken, lightly salt, and serve with toothpicks.
- If you have some cilantro haters, use chopped parsley instead.