This romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes looks complicated, but only takes 45 minutes to make! This thick and tangy sauce is sure to become a new favorite! Make extra and freeze for later so you can whip up this dish in no time, or enjoy over potatoes or with roasted vegetables.
Can you think of anything more satisfying than a creamy bowl of mashed potatoes?
I can! This bowl of KALE mashed potatoes loaded with chicken in a smoky, garlicky romesco sauce. Seriously, this recipe for romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes is one that will leave your belly quite happy. Plus, it’s pretty easy to make on a weeknight. The kale is cooked with the mashed potatoes, added towards the end of their cooking so they can be mashed together after being cooked until tender. Then the romesco sauce is added to the pan with quickly sauteed chunks of chicken thighs, where the chicken finishes cooking, and scooped into a bowl of the potatoes.
This recipe was inspired by a Rachael Ray recipe. But because I am the more honest of the cooking Rachael’s I will say it takes closer to 45 minutes. That always drove me nuts about her. Like, let’s be real - your recipes can only be done in 30 minutes if you have insane mis en place skills and actually remember which cabinet you keep your chili powder in.
What is Romesco Sauce?
Romesco is a popular Catalan sauce made with roasted tomatoes and peppers/chiles, and thickened with nuts and/or breadcrumbs. I like romesco sauce that has a bit of sherry or red wine vinegar added, plus smoked paprika for more smoky flavor. My romesco chicken recipe uses canned fire roasted tomatoes to save time It’s commonly served with grilled or roasted chicken or fish, over potatoes, or with vegetables, but there are so many other uses for it!
Use as a sauce in a panini, like my grilled zucchini and gruyere panini.
Use the sauce to make a pasta salad. I might swap it out for the dressing in my gazpacho pasta salad.
Serve as a sauce with a grilled vegetable platter.
Drizzle it over vegetable fritters, like my feta-scallion zucchini fritters.
As a pizza sauce. I bet it would be delish on my spring asparagus and potato pizza!
To dress up a simple grain bowl.
In one of my other favorite bowl meals - mashed bean bowls with roasted veggies!
I would encourage making double the amount of romesco sauce and freezing in a zip top bag or other freezer safe container for later. It’s so nice to have the sauce all done, so all you have to do is add it to the sauteed chicken in the skillet and cook to warm through. Keeping freezer bags of homemade sauces on hand is one of my go to tricks to save time in the kitchen, not just with this romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes, but also my red curry, which I just add vegetables to or use to make my chickpea dumplings in red coconut curry sauce with spinach, and my honey bourbon barbecue sauce. I have a few reusable zip top bags, or I just use some good ‘ole Ziplocs.
Recipe Tips for Romesco Chicken
For this recipe, and most of my other chicken recipes, I use chicken thighs, which have more fat and more flavor. However, you can easily swap chicken breasts if you prefer and that’s NBD! Cooking them in the sauce will keep the romesco chicken tender and prevent drying out.
Before sautéing, I seasoned the chicken in this recipe with smoked paprika. You can find it at most well stocked grocery stores or order smoked paprika online. You could certainly swap regular paprika, but honestly, it doesn’t have much flavor. I almost exclusively use sweet paprika or smoked paprika in lieu of that bland red powder.
This recipe calls for toasting the garlic, breadcrumbs and almonds in a skillet before adding it to the sauce. It takes the raw edge off the garlic, brings out the nutty oils in the almonds, and adds more toasty flavor from the breadcrumbs. But you do have to be careful not to burn it, because any burnt flavor will add off flavors to the sauce, especially garlic, which gets bitter when burnt.
I used a high powered blender to make this sauce, which makes it extra smooth. You can use a regular food processor, it will just have a bit more texture to it!
Recipe Tips for Kale Mashed Potatoes
Personally, I love mashed potatoes that still have lots of texture. Unless it’s Joel Robochon’s famous mashed potatoes with like 2 sticks of butter in it, I HATE smooth mashed potatoes! That’s probably why I like these kale mashed potatoes so much, because they have tons of texture from the kale, leaving the skins on, and mashing them so they still have a few potato chunks.
My favorite mashed potatoes are ones make with Yukon gold potatoes. Most mashed potato recipes use russets, which are a starchier potato that yields a fluffier mash. Again, great if you love smooth, fluffy mashed potatoes, but that ain’t me. Yukon gold potatoes are waxier, which gives it better texture, and also have a TON more flavor. I use them almost exclusively over russets because I like the taste so much! They are super creamy, and the skin is soft and delicate, so it blends in well with the mash. Bonus nutrition points too, because there are more nutrients around the skin.
Since the romesco sauce has such a bold flavor, I prefer to use a combination of full fat yogurt and chicken broth to make this mash versus butter. I’ve also mashed a few tablespoons of olive oil into it and that’s been tasty too! If you have more time, I might saute some onions and garlic in olive oil until golden brown and mash them into the potatoes - that’s how my mom always made mashed potatoes growing up and the browned bits of onion were just the best!
This recipe for romesco chicken with kale mashed potatoes was originally published May 2016. Recipe, images and text have been updated to give you the best content possible.
Romesco Chicken with Kale Mashed Potatoes Recipe
Kale Mashed Potatoes:
1 ½ lb Yukon gold or other waxy potato, halved or quartered if large
1 bunch kale, thick stems removed, roughly chopped
½ cup chicken broth
¼ cup plain full fat yogurt or sour cream
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 1/2 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
Salt and black pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup blanched slivered almonds
1 14-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
1 14-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
Chopped fresh parsley and smoked paprika, to garnish
Cover potatoes with a few inches of salted water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and cook until potatoes feel firm-tender when pierced with a fork, about 10-15 minutes depending on their size. Add kale to the water and continue to boil until potatoes are tender and kale is wilted, about 7 minutes.
Drain, then pour potatoes and kale back into the hot pot and place back on the stove. Add broth and yogurt. Mash with a potato masher to desired consistency. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Keep warm on low heat until ready to eat.
While potatoes are cooking, prepare the romesco chicken. Sprinkle chicken with smoked paprika, salt and black pepper and toss to combine. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add chicken to the hot pan and cook, flipping every so often, until browned. Remove from pan to a clean plate and set aside.
Add remaining olive oil to the pan and set on medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in panko and almonds and cook until lightly toasted, about 2-3 minutes.
Scrape panko-almond mixture into a food processor or high powered blender. Add roasted red peppers, tomatoes and sherry vinegar. Blend until smooth and pureed, which will be seconds in a high powered blender and a bit longer in a food processor, which may take a little bit to break down the breadcrumbs and almonds. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour romesco back into the skillet. Stir in chicken and any of their accumulated juices, and set to medium heat to warm through and finish cooking the chicken.
Serve mashed potatoes in a bowl. Make a well in the center and scoop in the romesco chicken. Serve garnished with parsley and smoked paprika, if desired.