Lemon Chicken with Ginger and Pine Nuts

Pollo al Agraz Piñones

from La Cocina De Mamá: The Great Home Cooking of Spain
by Penelope Casas


What caught our eye with this dish was the interesting combination of ingredients. We’ve made numerous recipes from Penelope’s cookbooks in the past and everyone was a winner, so we figured we couldn’t go wrong with this one. And we certainly didn’t! WOW, the flavors melded together so subtly well—no one ingredient overpowered the others.

The way the chicken is cut up seems a little odd, but the best we can figure is that when the thighs are cut in half crosswise, it opens up the bones and all the good flavor seeps into the sauce. In fact, many of Penelope’s chicken recipes call for this method of portioning.

A long-time friend gave this recipe to Penelope years ago and researching assorted seventeenth and eighteenth century cookbooks, she found several recipes that were practically identical, adding the ginger, a medieval touch that beautifully accents the lemon flavor of the delicious sauce.


  • 2 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1/8 tsp crumbled thread saffron
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • One 3- to 3/12 lb chicken
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp peeled and grated fresh ginger
  • Freshly ground pepper





  1. In a mortar or mini processor, mash to a paste the pine nuts, garlic, parsley, saffron and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Reserve.
  2. Cut the chicken into small serving pieces, first detaching the wings and legs, then, with kitchen shears, cutting the breast into four piece and each thigh in half crosswise. Sprinkle the chicken with salt.
  3. Heat the oil in a shallow casserole and sauté the chicken until it is browned on all sides. Add the onion and sauté until wilted.
  4. Pour in broth and lemon juice, add the bay leaf, ginger, salt and pepper to taste, and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir in the mortar mixture and continue cooking for 15 more minutes. Serve over rice (see following recipe.)


Baked Rice
Arroz al Horno

This rice is not a meal in itself, but is a great accompaniment to many fish, poultry, and meat dishes and takes well to sauces. If at all possible, make this rice instead of just plain rice, you’ll be glad you did.


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 cup Valencian (or Arborio) short-grain rice
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 11/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • A few strands of saffron, crumbled
  • Kosher or sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat the oil in a deep casserole, and then add the onion and cook until the onion is softened. Stir in the rice coating it with the oil.
  3. Pour in the chicken broth and 1 cup water, stir in the parsley, thyme, saffron, and salt to taste, and bring to a boil.
  4. Remove from the flame, cover, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 minutes, remove from the oven, and
    let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

1 thought on “Lemon Chicken with Ginger and Pine Nuts

  1. There are a few words omitted from the recipe for Baked rice. Between “Remove from the flame, cover,” and “for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.” please insert this:

    “and transfer to the oven. Cook for 15 min., remove from the oven, and
    let sit, covered, for”

    Thank you very much.


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