~Pollo de Corral de Cándida Acebo~
From La Cocina de Mamá by Penelope Casas.
Candidá, good friend of chef/author Penelope Casas, lived in the remote village of Compludo in the province of Léon Spain, a fertile region of El Bierzo, famed for its fruits and vegetables. Here the chickens wander the streets at will—free range in the truest sense—and villagers naturally cook with ingredients readily at hand. Thus, Penelope received this chicken recipe from Candidá which makes use of the village chickens and locally grown onions.
By now we’ve made numerous dishes from La Cocina de Mamá and everyone has been a winner, so we looked forward to trying this one out too. Not overly complex or time-consuming, this recipe soothes the soul on a cold winter’s eve. And don’t worry about leftovers, because if you do happen to end up with some, they’re just as good reheated.
- One 3- to 3 1/2 lb. chicken
- Kosher or sea salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 Tbsp minced, fresh parsley
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika, preferably Spanish smoked
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine
- 1 med. onion, preferably Vidalia or other sweet onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup finely chopped carrots
- 1 med. red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large baking potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- Cut the chicken into small serving pieces, first detaching the wings and legs, then, with kitchen shears, cutting the breast into four pieces and each thigh in half crosswise. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- In a mortar, mash to a paste the garlic, parsley, and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Mash in the paprika, then stir in the wine and reserve.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a shallow casserole or skillet and sauté the chicken until browned on both sides. Add the onions, carrots, and bell pepper and sauté until the vegetables are softened. Stir in the mortar mixture and cook slowly, covered for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large skillet heat the remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Add the potatoes in a single layer, sprinkle with salt, and sauté for 2 minutes, turning with a metal spatula to prevent sticking. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 10 minutes, turning occasionally with the spatula.
- Drain the oil, add the potatoes to the chicken, and continue cooking for 5 more minutes. Serve.
We found it best served in shallow bowls because of all the wonderful juices.