Discover this succulent old chicken pepitoria recipe, cooked in a flavoursome almond, egg yolk and saffron sauce to die for.
The pepitoria is a poultry-based recipe that has been a popular part of the Spanish gastronomy for quite a few centuries now. Some claim the French origin of the pepitoria based on some French cookbooks referring to the ‘petit-oie’, which not only it has similar phonetics but it means ‘little-goose’, a bird that was traditionally cooked by the French in almost an identical way to what today we know as a pepitoria. Others though ensure that it was the Moors who introduced the recipe in the Peninsula, which it would also make sense if we look at the recipe ingredients and the way they are cooked, very recognizable in many other traditional Moorish recipes.
Although the recipe as such features in the Granados’ cookbook from the 16th century for the first time, some older recipe books from the 13th century already mention a very similar preparation.
Whatever the case though, the truth is that the pepitoria has been long enough around the Iberian Peninsula to be considered a traditional Spanish recipe on its very own right.
Back in the time, chicken wouldn’t be as broadly available to the masses as it is today. And when it was, it would be affordable to the more affluent classes only. This means that originally the pepitoria would be prepared with cheaper and more broadly available cuts of meat, such as poultry offals or hen.
Being one of her favourite recipes, Queen Isabel II used to order hen in pepitoria again and again.
Of course, the situation has dramatically changed in the past decades and nowadays we can find affordable chicken in any high-street supermarket. The advantages of using chicken are not minor… it is much juicier, less fibrous and way quicker to cook. But again, the pepitoria way of cooking meat is not restricted to hen or chicken. It is also delicious with rabbit, hare, quails, partridge or turkey to mention some.
- 1.6 kg Chicken – approx. 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
- 2 Brown onion – finely chopped
- 1 Carrot – finely chopped
- 2 Egg – boiled
- 2 cloves Garlic – peel and crushed
- 2 slices Bread – toasted
- 1 pinch Saffron – toasted
- 15 Almonds – toasted
- 250 ml White wine
- 250 ml Chicken stock
- 100 ml Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Bay leaf
- Salt flakes
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 sprig Fresh parsley
- Cut your chicken into medium-sized pieces. Remove the skin –except for the wings– to avoid fat excess when we cook the chicken. Season and reserve.
- Brown the chicken in a very hot heavy-bottomed saucepan with a little olive oil until the pieces get a lovely golden colour all around. Remove from the heat and reserve.
- Chop the onions and the carrot. Crush and peel the garlic cloves. Place in the same pan we used for the chicken and cook for 10-15 minutes until soft and transparent, scratching any caramelized bits from the bottom of the pan.
- In the meantime, boil the eggs and reserve the egg yolks. Toast the almonds slightly using a small pan, then the saffron and finally the bread. Reserve.
- With the help of a pestle and mortar, make a pasta using the egg yolks, the almonds, the bread and the saffron. This is called a ‘majado’.
- Stir in the chicken and the ‘majado’ to the pan with the vegetables. Add the glass of white wine and cook to evaporate the alcohol for 3-4 minutes. Then add the chicken stock, the bay leaf and cook for approx. 35-40 minutes or until the chicken is soft and tender.
- Serve immediately, topped with a mixture of chopped egg white and fresh parsley.
Like most stews, this recipe tastes better if you prepare it the day before, as it gives the flavours the chance to settle down and blend with the other ingredients appropriately.
I love eating pepitoria with fries. For me it’s the best option, although you can also side it with some plain steamed rice or at least a good slice of bread.