Chicken in Hot Tomato Sauce

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Photo of Chicken in Hot Tomato Sauce

This dish is hot! Very hot! Pan-fried chicken thighs in a spicy sauce made from tomatoes, bacon, onions, garlic, Thai chillies and Piquin chillies. Lime juice and white wine add tang, broiled feta cheese adds flavor and elegance.


  • 4 chicken thighs (preferably skin-on, bone-in)
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 oz / 60g bacon, cubed
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • ca. 10 Thai chillies
  • 1 tbsp dried Piquin chillies
  • 5 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup / 240ml dry white wine
  • ¼ cup / 60ml Tequila
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 3 oz / ca. 100g tomato paste
  • Feta cheese for topping (see photo)
  • Scallions, chopped as garnish


  1. Season chicken thighs with black pepper.
  2. Set frying pan over high heat. Add vegetable oil. Fry thighs from both sides (skin side first) until nicely browned and fully cooked (ca. 10-12 minutes per side). Adjust heat as necessary.
  3. Set sauté pan over high heat. Render the bacon, cook until lightly browned.
  4. Add chopped onion, cook until lightly browned. Reduce heat.
  5. Add garlic, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add chillies, cook for 1-2 minutes.
  7. Add tomatoes and salt. Cook for 5 minutes.
  8. Add wine and Tequila, simmer uncovered over low-medkum heat for ca. 15 minutes until the tomatoes are soft.
  9. Puree with a stick blender until very smooth.
  10. Stir in tomato paste and lime juice.
  11. Adjust seasoning with salt (careful when sampling, spicy!).
  12. Transfer to oven-proof casserole, add chicken (skin up). Top with feta cheese and broil until the cheese is lightly browned (see photo).
  13. Garnish with chopped scallions.


  • Serve with pasta or rice.
  • This recipe started out as an attempt to reverse-engineer the hot chicken wings from our then-favorite pub. The result has more chicken, more spice, more tomato, more flavor and more tang. And we long stopped going to that pub ...

Yields 4 servings

Preparation time ca. 45-60 minutes