Pollo en Pepitoria

Here is one of those delightful Spanish recipes using an Almond sauce. This one, though, is given a lift by being lightly spiced – fragrantly spiced rather than hotly spiced.

The ingredients list may look a bit daunting but please don’t let that put you off. The method looks a little more involved, too, but – and you must trust me on this – it’s worth it. I loved it.


serves: 4
preparation time: 30 mins
cooking time: 60 mins


  • 2 large eggs, hard boiled & peeled
  • 1 chicken, 1.5kg-ish
  • 10 green cardamom pods, seeds of
  • ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • ½ tsp loosely packed saffron strands
  • 2 cloves
  • 1cm cinnamon stick
  • ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • 6 tbs olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled but whole
  • 20g slice white bread, crust removed
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 200ml dry white wine/sherry
  • 200ml chicken stock
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 40g blanched almonds
  • 40g pine nuts
  • 1 tbs fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbs flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Salt & pepper


Prepare the chicken. Cut the legs off the chicken and skin them, then divide each leg at the joint. Cut the last wing joints off the chicken and save for stock. Remove the breasts with the wings from the chicken carcass and skin them, taking as much skin off the wing joints as you can, too. Cut the wings off the breasts and divide into two. Halve each breast.

Add the seeds of the cardammoms to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar (if you like exercise), together with the saffron, coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and peppercorns, and grind to a fine powder. (OK, better stick with the spice grinder.)

Over medium heat, heat 4 tbs olive oil in a casserole or deep skillet. Add the peeled garlic cloves and bread slice and fry, turning once, until golden on both sides. Transfer to the small bowl of a food processor.

Lightly season the chicken pieces before adding them to the garlic/bread pan to brown on both sides. Remove the chicken to a plate, add another splash of oil to the pan and sweat the onion for 10 minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the ground spices and cook for another minute. Stir in the sherry/wine and bubble off the alcohol, then add the stock. Return the chicken to the pan with the bay leaves, add, say, ¼ tsp salt and bring to a simmer. Cover the pan and cook for 40 minutes, turning the chicken pieces occasionally, until tender.

Dry-roast the pine nuts in a hot, dry frying pan for a minute – just colour them a little. Set aside to cool. In the same way, toast the almonds (about 2 minutes) and set aside to cool.

Once the nuts are cool, add them to the processor containing the toasted garlic and bread. Pop in the yolks of the hard boiled eggs. Add 10 or so tablespoons of the chicken cooking liquid and blitz to a smooth(ish) paste.

Lift the chicken pieces onto a warmed serving dish and cover to keep warm. Add the blitzed paste to the cooking sauce, set back over a low heat and stir for a couple of minutes until thickened. Stir in the lemon juice, adjust the seasoning and pour back over the chicken. Serve scattered with the chopped parsley.

Get a pdf version of this recipe.

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