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Cooking with olive oil: Grandma´s chicken with almond sauce

A few days ago, my partner Pepe and I were having a beer in a local bar. There was an older couple seated at the neighboring table and we began talking. We spoke about the difference of cultures (American and Spanish) and how we interact in a relationship. I said in some aspects we may be different, however, in all cultures the way to a man´s heart is usually through his stomach. The man chimed in in total agreement and told me how fantastic her chicken with almond sauce is and that he could eat a pan full by himself.

She proceded to give me verballChicken with almond saucey the recipe and when I got home I made sure to write it down step by step. This evening I made it and I have to say it is worth blogging about and certainly making repeatedly! Here it is. I must share the love.

Serves: One hungry grandpa or 3 people.

Time: About 1 hr

Ingredients: 

6 skinless chicken thighs

18 -20 white raw almonds

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup EVOO.  I would not use your best oil here since most of the aromas will leave during the cooking process. California Olive Ranch (if living in the US) would be fine.

1 small to medium white onion

4 or more garlic cloves (I used 5)

Black pepper corn

Salt and pepper

Saffron about 4 or 5 stands

1/2 C good sherry (I used Solera 1847 Cream from Gonzalez Byass but the woman was from Córdoba and told me she used one from the region of Montilla-Moriles)

Mortar and pestle or some way of grinding.

Steps: 

  1. Clean chicken of any excess fat, wash and pat dry. Salt and pepper the thighs.
  2. In a deep large pan, add the olive oil and heat over a high heat. I always like to smell the olive oil as it begins to heat because it begins to release all of the aromas. You never want the oil to smoke. When the oil is well heated, add the bay leaf and chicken. Brown the chicken on both sides.
  3. While the chicken is browning, chop the onion and mince all but one garlic clove.
  4. When the chicken is browned, remove it and set it aside.
  5. Reduce the heat a bit and add the onion and garlic and sauté until it is translucent.
  6. While the onions and garlic are cooking, add the almonds, saffron, garlic and a few pepper corns to the mortar and pestle and grind the contents together until as smooth and uniform as you can get it.
  7. Add the wine to the onions and garlic and raise the heat to let the alcohol evaporate. Then add the almond mixture to the pan and stir the contents in the pan.
  8. Now add the chicken again to the pan and let simmer in the sauce on a medium heat for at least 30 minutes covered.
  9. At this point, you can pour a glass of that nice sherry for yourself and any other adult in the house and cut a hard cheese and wait for the chicken to be done. Every now and then I like to jiggle the pan and turn the chicken thighs.
  10. Enjoy.
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