Spanish Braised Chicken with Sherry and Saffron (Pollo en Pepitoria)
To make pollo en pepitoria that was rich but balanced, we brightened the lush nut- and egg yolk–thickened sauce with canned tomatoes (more consistent year-round than fresh tomatoes) and a little lemon juice. Adding some of the braising liquid to the nut mixture when we blended it to make the sauce helped it puree thoroughly but still retain a pleasantly coarse consistency. Chicken thighs are fully cooked when they reach 175 degrees, but we purposely overcook them—and do it slowly—which allows collagen in the meat to break down into gelatin, making the meat more tender and juicy.
- Serves 4
- Any dry sherry, such as fino or Manzanilla, will work in this dish. Serve with crusty bread.
- 8 (5- to ) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 3 garlic cloves, minced 3 teaspoons
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup dry sherry
- 1 cup chicken broth1 () can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped fine
- 2 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled and yolks and whites separated
- 1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted
- Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
Adapted from americastestkitchen.com
-Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.
-Pat thighs dry with paper towels and season both sides of each with 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add thighs and brown on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer thighs to large plate and pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet.
-Return skillet to medium heat, add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons garlic, bay leaf, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sherry and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until sherry starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to simmer. Return thighs to skillet, cover, transfer to oven, and cook until chicken registers 195 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer thighs to serving platter, remove and discard skin, and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. While thighs cook, finely chop egg whites.
-Discard bay leaf. Transfer ¾ cup chicken cooking liquid, egg yolks, almonds, saffron, and remaining garlic to blender jar. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down jar as needed. Return almond mixture to skillet. Add 1 tablespoon parsley and lemon juice; bring to simmer over medium heat. Simmer, whisking frequently, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
-Pour sauce over chicken,sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and egg whites, and serve.
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