Epicurious | July 2009
by Joyce Goldstein
Tapas: Sensational Small Plates from Spain
yield: Serves 4
Pollo al ajillo
Here is another popular al ajillo preparation. I use chicken thighs for this dish because they remain juicier and are more flavorful than breasts, but chicken wings also work well. If you like a little heat, add a pinch of hot paprika or cayenne pepper with the sherry.
Category : Winter Pairings
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces, or 12 chicken wings, tips removed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, crushed, plus 2 cloves, minced
3 fresh thyme sprigs
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup fino or manzanilla sherry
1/2 cup chicken broth
Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
Rub the chicken with paprika, salt, and pepper and set aside at room temperature for at least 1 hour or preferably in the refrigerator at least 8 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a large sauté pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and cook, stirring, until softened but not colored, 2 minutes. Add the chicken pieces and fry, turning as needed, until golden on both sides, 5 to 8 minutes. You want them nicely colored on the outside but not cooked through. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, and then arrange the pieces in a cazuela or baking dish large enough to hold them in a single layer.
Remove the crushed garlic from the oil and discard. Return the pan to low heat. Add the minced garlic and cook briefly. Add the thyme, bay leaves, sherry, and broth, raise the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour over the chicken.
Bake the chicken until cooked through, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and discard the bay leaves and thyme. If the pan juices are thin, transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium high heat until reduced, and then return to the cazuela. Sprinkle with the parsley and serve at once.
You also can complete the cooking on the stove top. Sauté the minced garlic as directed, return the chicken to the pan, add the sherry and broth, and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the chicken is tender, 15 to 20 minutes
Spanish: rosé (Campo de Borja, Navarre), Tempranillo/blend (Rioja, Catalonia)
Non-Spanish: rosé (Rhône Valley and Provence, France), Pinot Noir (Oregon, France, New Zealand)