Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Chicken with Catalan Picada

This dish is fairly easy to pull together, especially with two chefs, and it has great flavor. It tastes a little like mole, the Mexican chocolate sauce, but not spicy. My mom says it tastes very gourmet, and I agree--tons of flavor complexity for not much effort! We served the chicken with potatoes, but rice would also be a good accompaniment. Yum!

Chicken with Catalan Picada (adapted from Food and Wine)

4 whole chicken legs, split or 6 chicken breast halves, with or without skin
Salt and pepper
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
14-ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup sweet wine or sherry
1 bay leaf
3-inch strip of orange zest
1/4 tsp thyme
Picada, recipe below

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. If using skin-on chicken, brown the skin in 2 T of oil for about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. If using skinless chicken, add in step 2.

2. If you haven't browned the chicken, add oil to the skillet. Add the onion and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook over moderately high heat until very thick, 5 minutes. Add the broth, wine, bay leaf, orange zest, and thyme. Bring to a boil Add the chicken, cover, and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, turning once.

3. Stir the picada into the sauce and simmer over low heat, uncovered, for 15 minutes, until chicken is fully cooked and sauce is slightly thickened. Discard bay leaf and orange zest and season with salt and pepper.

Picada (from Food and Wine)

1 slice peasant bread, crust removed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup almonds
1/2 T oil
3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 c parsley
1/8 tsp cinnamon
Large pinch allspice

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Toast the bread cubes and almonds until slightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

2. In a small skillet, cook the garlic in the oil until lightly browned, about 3 minutes.

3. Put the garlic, oil, bread, and almonds in the food processor. Add the chocolate, parsley, cinnamon, and allspice and process until the mixture becomes a paste.

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