Pollo al chilindron: braised chicken the northern way
¡Hola a todos!
Today we are travelling up northern Spain to talk about one of its most renowned recipes. On this blog, I have already featured two Spanish chicken classics such Pepitoria style (from the southern regions) and Mar i muntanya (from my natal Catalonia). It is not a secret that we cook chicken in many different, tasty ways so please let me surprise you one more time. This Pollo al chilindron (Chilindron style chicken) is an essential in both households and bars all across the country.
It is understood that the dish originated in the mountainous regions of the North west, somewhere around Huesca or Navarra. Apparently, it takes its name from a cards game’s popular catchphrase that would be said by the player with the best playing combination. That was “Tengo el chilindrón”, which literally translates as “I have got the chilindron”. Strictly talking about the dish, the names relates to the intense red sauce and it is usually cooked with poultry or lamb.
Without hesitation, the best part of this Pollo al chilindron is the sofrito of the sauce. In about 99 per cent of the Spanish cuisine, this is a base of finely diced vegetables with tomato that are almost invisible to the eyes. It doesn’t happen here because these ingredients are not only the source of flavour of the recipe, but also play a key role in it. When I cooked it, I ate it with a side of roasted potatoes alongside. However, this is totally optional as you can also have it without any side. Despite this, I strongly recommend you to have some bread next to you to clean the plate up of the sauce.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
Chicken thighs (8)
Red pepper (1)
Green pepper (1)
Garlic cloves (2)
Canned tomato (400 g / 1 can)
White wine (half glass)
Smoked paprika (1 teaspoon)
Bay leaf (1)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
In a pot, add a good amount of olive oil and sear the chicken thighs. You have to do this at high heat and must salt and pepper the parts. When they are golden brown, remove and set aside.
2. Now it’s time for the sofrito. Roughly chop both peppers and simmer them in the same olive oil. Lower the heat to medium-low to avoid burning or undercooking. After five minutes, finely chop the onion and the garlic and add it to the pot. Add salt and pepper and toss all together with the lid until the vegetables are tender.
3. Reduce the heat to low and add the smoked paprika. Blend with the vegetables and cook for 30 seconds. Then, tip the tomato and cook until all the water evaporates.
4. Add the wine and increase the heat to evaporate the alcohol. Once it’s done, add another pinch of salt, stir the sofrito and return the chicken thighs to the pot (juices included)
5. Pour the chicken stock up to almost covering all the content. Add the bay leaf, stir and cook at medium-low heat for 30 to 40 minutes with the lid on. Shake the pot frequently to integrate all the sauce ingredients and check the taste in case it needs more salt.
6. After the sauce has thicken a little bit, switch off the fire and set the pot aside for 5-10 minutes. The flavours will concentrate and your dish will taste absolutely delicious. Serve the chicken with a side of roasted potatoes.