Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pepitoria: A Simple Dish, A Perfect Dish

As you probably already know, I have been living with a host family in the DC suburb of Greenbelt, MD since I moved out here after graduating from Cal at the end of May.  It's been grand, and I've learned a lot about having Gramma and Daddy Bob as my housemates...

Unfortunately, my time has come to move on (and out), and on Saturday, I'll sign a lease for a new apartment in downtown DC with my friend Nick!  However, that is not the exciting news OR the real reason for this post.

The reason for this post is FOOD.  Authentic Spanish food to be precise.  Tonight, for no apparent reason, my Greenbelt host Gramma made Pollo en Pepitoria for dinner.  If you didn't know, Gramma is 100% Spanish, and 100% awesome; to be sure, what she made for dinner tonight was--without a doubt--the best meal she has cooked since I moved in and took over their basement (however, I have yet to try her famous Paella!!).

After coming just shy of licking my plate at the dinner table, I immediately asked to see her cookbook where the recipe was found so that I could copy it down.  Seriously: print this recipe, cook it, and I guarantee you'll be sharing it with your friends and family soon enough.  Without any further delay, here's the recipe:

Pollo En Pepitoria (Chicken in Egg, Almond, and Sherry Sauce) from The Food and Wines of Spain by Penelope Casas

"Pepitoria" applies to poultry and game dishes to which egg has been added, either uncooked or hard-boiled, and is a favorite Spanish preparation.  Although most often found with chicken, many believe that a hen, slow cooked, produces the tastiest "pepitoria."  I have found that a kosher chicken gives the best results.  This dish combines all of the ingredients most often associated with Spanish cooking -- garlic, saffron, sherry, and almonds -- into an unusually savory sauce.

Please note!  There were changes to this recipe for tonight:  Gramma served this over rice and just used chicken breasts (Daddy Bob doesn't like chicken with bones!).  She also used a mortar and pestle to crush the blanched almonds because "it is better that way."  Also, she didn't use any ham or the egg, but she definitely would have, and why?  That's another story . . .


4 tablespoons olive oil
One 3 - 3 1/2 pound chicken, cut in small serving pieces
(Optional) 1/4-pound piece cured ham, cut in julienne strips
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons minced parsley
1/4 cup dry sherry
3/4 cup chicken broth
Dash nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon saffron
1 bay leaf
Freshly ground pepper
15 blanched almonds
1 hard-boiled egg, finely chopped

In a large casserole, heat the oil and saute the chicken over a high flame until it is well browned.  Pour off all put 1 tablespoon of the oil.  Reduce the heat, add the ham, onion, garlic, and 2 tablespoons of the parsley, and cook until the onion is wilted.  Stir in the sherry, broth, nutmeg, saffron, bay leaf, salt, and pepper.  Simmer 10 minutes, uncovered.  Remove the chicken, ham, and bay leaf to a heated platter.

In a food processor or blender, chop the almond until they are finely ground.  Gradually add the contents of the casserole and blend until smooth.  Return the sauce to the casserole along with the chicken, ham, and bay leaf.  Cover and cook in a 350 oven for 20 minutes, adding more chicken broth if the sauce thickens too much.  Sprinkle the hard-boiled egg over the chicken and cook 5 minutes more.  Garnish with the remaining tablespoon of the parsley before serving and accompany with a green salad and a light red wine like Cabernet Sauvignon.

Muchas gracias Gramma!  Viva la España!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this, even if it was 2 years ago. I LOVE this dish but left my beloved cookbook at a friends. So with good old Google, I found my recipe. This is the BEST. Try the Lamb meatballs from the same cookbook. You'll moan.