Sunday, 1 January 2012
Spanish inspiration! Pollo al ajillo, or chicken with garlic
I really do love chicken and garlic in all its forms. I remember when I was little and my dad brought home chicken and garlic in trays from where he worked (delivering chicken!) and the flavour was amazing. The food that I ate when I was a child was good, but it was plain in comparison to what I eat now and garlic was a revelation to me and something that I have continued to enjoy ever since. So, after cooking many versions of chicken and garlic over the recent past, from the infamous forty cloves to just a hint in combination with lemon, parsley and thyme, I decided to try this version from Rick Stein's 'Spain' mainly because of its simplicity and because I felt it would work well with the boneless thighs that I had in the fridge. The fact of the matter is that good quality chicken breasts are hard to find and expensive day to day, and thighs provide a good (and more tasty if you ask me) alternative. And this cooks quickly. The ideal weekday dinner when I am tired and the kids want sustenance NOW! Lola and Finn loved this, as did dad. Simply boiled potatoes and green beans were excellent accompaniments.
Chicken with Garlic, or 'Pollo al Ajillo' adapted from 'Spain', by Rick Stein.
750g free range chicken (I used boneless thighs)
4 big garlic cloves
100ml dry sherry or white wine
3 tbsp olive oil
A bay leaf, or a pinch of thyme
Slash the chicken meat in preparation for marinating put into a mixing bowl and season generously with salt and pepper.
Finely chop the garlic cloves, mix, with 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 a tbsp of oil and work the mixture into the chicken with your hands. Cover and leave at room temperature for an hour.
Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a suitable frying pan, over a medium heat and then add the chicken pieces to the pan. Cook, turning over occasionally until the chicken is golden brown.
Remove the chicken from the pan, drain away most of the oil, leaving about a tbsp or so. Add the wine or sherry and deglaze the pan, before returning the chicken to the pan with a bay leaf or a generous pinch of dried thyme. Leave to cook gently until the wine almost evaporates. If you are cooking bone in chicken you will need to cook the chicken further, so once you return the chicken to the pan with the herbs, cover and cook gently for about 15 minutes or so and then remove the lid to allow the wine to boil down and almost evaporate. Sprinkle with parsley before serving.