This is one of the most classic dishes in traditional Spanish cuisine, though it was originally prepared with a hen (gallina) rather than chicken. Today it is best when prepared with fresh pollo de corral (organic corn fed chicken). While it does not need to be marinated in wine overnight, it will enhance the flavor and is recommended if planning in advance. Saffron gives it a golden color, though you only need a pinch. The rich and creamy wine sauce is thickened with ground almonds and boiled egg yolks. See two possible variations at the end of the recipe, and experiment until you find what you prefer.
- 1 large chicken (3+ lbs, preferably corn fed)
- Salt to taste
- 4-6 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for sautéing
- 2 medium onions
- 8 ounces (125 milliliters) white wine
- 1 1/2 cups (375 milliliters) chicken stock
- 1 large bay leaf
- 2 sprigs of thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 4 medium cloves garlic
- 12 ground almonds
- 3-4 saffron threads
- 1/8 teaspoon (a pinch) of ground cinnamon
- 2 hard-boiled egg yolks
Gather the ingredients.
Cut the chicken into 10 pieces and salt well. Heat a few tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed frying pan or casserole dish and brown the chicken on all sides. When finished browning reserve on a plate.
While the chicken is browning, finely chop the onions and garlic and set aside.
When the chicken is browned add the onions to the same pan with the chicken drippings. Sauté the onions until translucent, pour a bit more oil into the pan if necessary. Add the garlic and sauté for about one minute.
Put chicken back into the pan and add the white wine, chicken stock, bay leaf and thyme. Cover and simmer on medium heat for approximately 25-30 minutes.
While the chicken is cooking, boil two eggs and set aside to cool. When cool enough to touch, peel and remove the hard-boiled yolks.
Grind the almonds in a food processor or blender. Place the ground almonds, saffron threads, cinnamon and egg yolks into a mortar along with a couple of tablespoons of stock from the pan. Grind the mixture grind into a paste with the pestle.
Slowly stir the almond-egg mixture into the pan and simmer for another five minutes. This will thicken the sauce a bit.
Serve the chicken and spoon sauce over rice or fried potatoes. The Spanish like to use rustic bread to soak up the extra sauce.
Add Carrots – When frying the onions, include two carrots chopped into 1/2-inch cubes.
Marinate Overnight – After cutting the chicken, marinate overnight in the white wine, a finely chopped garlic clove and 1 tsp of chopped parsley. When ready to brown the chicken, remove from the marinade and allow to drain before placing in frying pan. Use white wine from marinade for sauce.