Port-Paprika Chicken Bites

Port-Paprika Chicken Bites

Portuguese and Spanish ingredients—inimitable port wine, paprika, cilantro, and olive oil—flavor this tapas-style dish. Set out cocktail picks, or toothpicks, for nibbling on these delicious little bites. To cook these bites once and enjoy them twice, double the recipe, omitting the cilantro, and freeze half the batch. Then just thaw them in the fridge and reheat them in in a skillet, adding fresh cilantro before serving.–Kate Heyhoe

LC Hah! Note

If you’re anything like us, you may as well forget satisfying your and three other appetites with this tapas, as suggested by the number of servings above. Hah! Just can’t be done, not when it’s so tricky to stop tossing back small bites of warmly spiced chicken. Perhaps consider it an entree instead, for two not four, spooning the chicken over rice to soak up every last drop of that sauce.

Port and Paprika Chicken Bites

  • Quick Glance
  • (5)
  • 20 M
  • 30 M
  • Serves 4 as tapas
5/5 - 5 reviews
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Grind the garlic and bay leaves together in the work bowl of a hand blender or mini chopper. (Alternatively, chop the garlic by hand and finely crumble the bay leaves and combine.) Add the port, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the vinegar, paprika, and salt and pulse until well combined.

Pour the mixture over the chicken, cover, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.

Just before cooking, chop enough cilantro to make 1/2 cup. Scatter the cilantro on a serving plate.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high heat in a wok or large skillet. With a slotted spoon, scoop the chicken pieces out of the marinade and into the hot oil, arranging the chicken in a single layer and discarding the marinade. Cook until browned on the bottom, 2 to 3 minutes, then stir-fry until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more. Scoop the chicken out of the pan, leaving any excess oil behind, and place the chicken on the cilantro.

Add the onion to the oil in the hot pan, return it to medium-high heat, and cook, stirring, until the onion is browned at the edges, about 2 minutes. Scoop the onion out of the oil and strew it over the chicken.

Serve the plate of chicken bites hot or at room temperature, sprinkled with a touch of salt and with cocktail picks or toothpicks for handling.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

Being Portuguese and having tried something similar in Spain, I knew I had to try this recipe. What really grabbed my attention was the cilantro, as this added more of a Portuguese flair than a Spanish one. I used ruby port, as in my mind tawny can be a tad too strong and overpower the meat when used as a marinade. The marinade itself is extremely fast to make, and I decided right away to double the recipe and use half on cubed chicken and the other half on chicken wings. I served it with plain white rice, which was the perfect complement, as the sauce (though there was only a little) brought a different dimension to the rice. The chicken came out extremely juicy and tasty, where one could easily detect all of its ingredients. This is a recipe to do over and over again. I will most likely always have some frozen for a last-minute appetizer.

Aside from the marinating time, this dish comes together very quickly. While it would certainly make a good starter or nibble if you’re entertaining, for just the two of us, I served it as a main dish. You get a lot of flavor bang for your effort buck with this recipe. Since we love cilantro around here, we scooped up plenty of it to mix in with the chicken on the plate. I used white port for this recipe, since I had some on hand. I’m sure that is not what the authors intended, but it works fine. I think you could have quite a bit of leeway with the type of alcohol used, as long as it is fairly sweet, to balance out the vinegar in the marinade.


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  1. Loved the ease of recipe…I did manage to make a happy mistake. I coated the chicken after marination with a dusting of flour and sautéd from there. And also added a blend of parsley with cilantro (the family learning to like cilantro). Served with a potato and bacon dish. Big hit. We normally have a pretty standard palate this was awesome for us!

  2. Hi, I’m giving this recipe a shot but am planning on a 2 day marinade. Will this affect the recipe at all?

    1. Ryan, glad to hear you’re trying the recipe! A 48-hour marinade is quite a long time for the chicken to be exposed not just to the flavors but also to the acidity. I’m worried the taste and texture may be compromised. How about a 6-hour marinade?

    1. Absolutely (yup, learned how to spell) terrific! I have made this many times since my last review, serving it at every party, and everyone loves it. There are never any leftovers. Thank you!

  3. As I type this, I am eating leftover bites that were cooked last night and now wrapped up tight in a wheat tortilla with just a smidgen of cheese. I served the bites last night just as the recipe called…on a bed of cilantro with the most perfectly diced, tiny bits of onion. These bites are fabulous hot, cold, leftover, on a toothpick, on a fork, with your fingers. These bites were on my list for several months, especially after I was able to pick up some Hungarian paprika in a spice shop in Chicago. Once the marinating is over, the dish comes together quickly. Since I cooked the chicken in two batches, I have to say the second batch was even better, as the chicken picked up all the nice, crusty flavors that were stuck to the wok from the first batch. A great quickie for company tidbits. Just toss it into the refrigerator in the marinade and cook when you are ready. Yum!

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