Monday, January 30, 2012

Almond Chicken (Pollo a la almendra)

Spain is the second largest almond producer in the world after the United States. The growing areas are the regions along the Mediterranean Sea and the origin of the almond is Asia, from the Aegean sea to Turkistan. The almond was introduced in Europe by the Greeks and Romans. The best of all varieties is the Marcona almond. It is also the most expensive because of its sweetness - it doesn't have the bitterness of other almonds. Given that Spain is such a big almond producer, it is understandable that there are many  different dishes with almonds as an ingredient.


1/2 cup olive oil
1 slice bread
15 almonds
6 chicken thighs and 6 legs
1 onion, cut in julienne
4 cloves garlic
1 glass of white wine
1 1/2 cups chicken bouillon
a pinch of saffron
salt and pepper

For the "picada":

slice of bread
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup parsley

Work this mix in a mortar until if forms a paste called "picada."

In a large pan, heat the olive oil and fry the almonds. When they start getting light brown, remove them from the pan. Then fry the bread, and when it gets light brown, remove it and set it aside. Add the chicken and brown it, then add the onions and garlic, and cook until the onions turn translucent. Next add the glass of wine to the pan and cook for a few minutes until the alcohol burns. Then add the chicken stock and cook everything on a low heat for about 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes add the picada to the chicken and let it cook for about 10 to 15 minutes more until everything is mixed. If you like a creamy sauce, use a chinoise to make it smoother.

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