Spanish Chicken in Almond Sauce (Pollo En Salsa De Almendras )…or Chicken Fricassee in Almond Sauce (Pollo En Pepitoria), as known in Botin restaurant in Madrid (founded in 1725, claim to be the "earliest" restaurant in the world) where we had first eaten this…my colour as you can see comes out much too much brighter than the original, so I am not sure whether I am still allowed to call it Fricassee…now it could be because I have no control on the saffron or because I am tired of seeing beiges and browns all around me...the husband thinks it’s the latter…proof – I have just gone ahead and bought a Neon green Jacket and an Orange handbag – colours that in my previous avatar I wouldn’t even have been caught standing next to J…old age and lack of sunshine do make people lose their mind and you will often see/hear/read them rant about everything under the Sun or the missing Sun as the case maybe instead of getting to the point…and the point was…errr…
Spanish Chicken in Almond Sauce (Pollo En Salsa De Almendras)/ Chicken Fricassee in Almond Sauce (Pollo En Pepitoria)
- Chicken, preferably legs and thighs, bone in and skinless with all excess fat removed, around 500 gms (you can leave skin on if you prefer, or use boneless thigh fillets chunks, adjust cooking time accordingly, weight to be around 750 gms to 800 gms)
- Salt, to taste
- Crushed Black Pepper, to taste
For the sauce:
- Brown/Yellow Onions, finely sliced, 1 medium
- Wine, ¼ cup (or use chicken stock or water)
- Chicken Stock, ½ to ¾
- Bayleaf, 1
- Saffron threads, ¼ tsp to ½ tsp
- Egg, 1
- Garlic, peeled and kept whole, 3-4 cloves
- Blanched Whole Almonds, a handful or Ground Almonds, about ¼ cup
- Bread, slightly stale, 1 slice
- Salt, to taste
- Crushed Black Pepper, to taste
- Oil, 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Get the chicken to room temperature and pat dry with paper towels.
Salt and pepper all sides of the chicken pieces.
Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a large heavy bottom pan/skillet or Dutch oven. Once the oil is hot, fry the chicken over medium high heat in batches until pale golden on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep aside. If using skin on chicken – place the chicken in the pan skin side down first. The skin will also release some extra oil while frying that you may need to remove before proceeding.
Add in the onions to the same pan and fry till the onions just start to turn slightly golden at the edges.
Pour in the wine and scrape up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Let it bubble and simmer until the wine is reduced by half.
Return the chicken to the pan (skin side up if using skin on chicken pieces), along with any juices that have accumulated on the plate.
Add in the bayleaf and chicken stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked half way through – about 20 minutes.
In the meanwhile, hard boil the egg, peel and separate the yolk and the white. Finely grate or chop the egg white.The yolk will be used in the sauce and the white will be used as garnish.
Heat a small frying pan on low heat and lightly roast the saffron threads for about 15 to 20 seconds. Remove and keep aside.
To make the almond sauce, heat about 1 tbsp of oil in the small frying pan and lightly sauté the whole garlic cloves for a couple of minutes, transfer to paper towels. Add the almonds and sauté for a couple of minutes, transfer to paper towels. Don’t let either the garlic or almonds to brown too much – just nice pale golden spots. Now fry the sliced bread in the same oil till nice golden brown and remove. If using ground almonds sauté it lightly after frying the bread.
Blend the egg yolk, garlic, almonds/ground almonds, garlic and bread in a food processor and a little chicken stock (from the simmering chicken pot) until you have a thick paste.
Stir this almond paste into the chicken pot with the saffron threads.
Let the chicken continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring frequently until the sauce has thickened and the chicken is cooked through and falling off the bone – about 20-25 minutes.
Taste and adjust the seasoning to your liking.
Remove the chicken to the serving dish and top with the grated egg white. Serve with rice and/or potatoes
- This is typically made with bone in and skin on chicken pieces. I have personally never liked the look or the taste of skin on chicken in a slow cooked “curry” and hence always use skinless chicken pieces. Bone in or boneless depends on what I have available at home but as always I never use boneless chicken breast for anything which even remotely looks like a “curry”
- A good quality chicken stock is must for this recipe.
- To make a low calorie version:
- Use skinless chicken
- Dry roast the garlic and almonds, toast the bread – skip the additional 1 tbsp oil
- Skip bread completely or use wholemeal bread slice