Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Pollo non loco

It was the last of the sweet peppers, and high time to bid them a fond farewell.

I turned to my increasingly well-thumbed collection of Time-Life Foods of the Worlds cookbooks, and decided a trip to Spain would fit the bill.

One chicken, neatly parted out, joined a simmering concoction of tomatoes, garlic, onions and those sweetly softening peppers. While the recipe didn't call for it, a glug of red wine went in quite nicely, and dinner was ready in less than an hour.

Don't forget the bread for sopping!
Pollo a la Chilindron (Sauteed Chicken with Peppers, Tomatoes and Olives)

a 2 1/2-3-pound chicken, cut into 6-8 serving pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large onions, cut lengthwise in half, then into 1/4-inch wide strips
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
3 small sweet red or green peppers, seeded, deribbed and cut lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
1/2 cup finely chopped serrano ham, or other lean smoked ham
6 medium-sized tomatoes, peeled, seeded and finely chopped
6 pitted black olives, cut in half
6 pitted green olives, cut in half

Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and sprinkle them liberally with salt and a few grindings of pepper. In a heavy 10- to 12-inch skillet, heat the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it.
Brown the chicken a few pieces, at a time, starting them skin side down and turning them with tongs. Regulate the heat so that the chicken colors quickly and evenly without burning. As the pieces turn a rich brown, transfer them to a plate.
Add the onions, garlic, peppers and ham to the fat remaining in the skillet. Stirring frequently, cook for 8-10 minutes over moderate heat until the vegetables are soft but not brown.
Add the tomatoes, raise the heat and cook briskly until most of the liquid in the pan evaporates and the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape lightly in a spoon.
Return the chicken to the skillet, turning the pieces about with a spoon to coat them evenly with the sauce. Cover tightly and simmer over low heat for 25-30 minutes, or u ntil the chicken is tender but not falling apart.
Stir in the olives and taste for seasoning. Transfer the entire contents of the skillet to a heated serving bowl or deep platter and serve at once.

Time-Life Foods of the World: The Cooking of Spain and Portugal


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