One Year On…Pollo en Pepitoria – Chicken in a Saffron and Almond Sauce

Pepitoria – what a great word!  However, I couldn´t find a decent translation for it.  The dictionary comes up with “hodge podge” or “fricassée”.  I don´t think either of those translations suit the sophistication of this beautiful looking, wonderful tasting but oh so easy to prepare dish.

It´s often cooked for celebratory meals – probably because of the luxury of the ingredients (saffron and almonds) and the fact that it can be prepared for a large number of people in advance. It seems that it´s a year since I published my first post here on WordPress.  Wow, what a journey it´s been!  From no readers 😦 to a lovely group of new blogging pals who comment, support, encourage and inspire.  I thank you all, it´s great to have you along for the ride.

So, back to the food.  Don´t be put off by the word “luxury”, it´s actually luxurious in terms of quality and not cost.  Most recipes suggest using free range chicken or even an old hen or cockerel for long slow cooking and an amazing taste.  I used our old black cockerel who was no longer doing it for my lady hens…he had a great life, fathered many little chicks and was treated splendidly after his demise in this gorgeous dish.  Ok, on with the cooking.

You´ll need (for approx 6 people depending on the size of your chicken)

  • 1 large chicken cut into portions and floured
  • Olive oil
  • About 20 blanched almonds
  • 1 thick slice of day old bread
  • 6 cloves of garlic peeled and sliced in half lengthways
  • About 1 heaped tablespoon of chopped parsley
  • ½ teaspoon of saffron stamens (or you can use ground turmeric which will add a little flavour of a different kind, but it´s a good substitute)
  • ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves
  • Fresh black pepper for grinding and salt (I used Maldon)
  • About ½ litre of chicken stock
  • 2 large glasses of dry white whine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 hard boiled eggs

Start by putting a few good slugs of olive oil in the bottom of a heavy based pan that has a lid.  Brown the almonds and garlic and remove. Now fry the bread until browned and remove.  Put the bread, almonds, garlic, parsley and saffron in a jug with about half a cup of stock and blend until you have a thick smooth mixture.

Fry your chicken pieces in the same oil (add more if necessary) until browned on both sides then pour over the almond and saffron mixture,  one glass of white wine, enough stock to cover the meat,  the bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.  Pour yourself the other glass of wine and drink while waiting for the pot to come up to a gentle boil.  Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook gently for at least an hour and a half.  I cooked mine for three hours as it was an old cockerel (bless him) and check every so often that the meat is covered with liquid.  If not, add a little water or chicken stock.

When the meat is tender, remove from the sauce and turn up the heat to reduce slightly.  Check for seasoning and add the mashed yolks of the 2 hard boiled eggs to further thicken the sauce.  Once it has reached the consistency of a thick pouring sauce, put the chicken back into the pot (or pour the sauce over your chicken if you are going to use a serving platter) and sprinkle with the chopped whites of the hard boiled egg and finely chopped parsley.  Serve with fresh lemon to squeeze over, rice, fried or mashed potatoes and ¡Buen Provecho!

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