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Pollo Al Ajillo (Chicken Cooked with Bay, Garlic and White Wine)

Cooked with bay, garlic and white wine, pollo al ajillo is a delicious dinner idea. The Spanish chicken recipe is tasty on its own or served with simple rice.

From the book

Samuel & Samantha Clark


This is one of Spain’s most classic ways of cooking chicken – with lots of garlic, bay and wine – and our favourite. The art of this dish is to try to make the juices of the chicken and the white wine emulsify with the garlicky olive oil.

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1 medium organic or free-range chicken, about 1.5 kg, jointed into 8 pieces, skin on breast and wings, skin off legs and thighs
4 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic bulbs, cloves separated, skins on
6 bay leaves, preferably fresh
200ml white wine or fino sherry
100ml water
Sea salt and black pepper

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Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan or frying pan with a lid over a medium heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and fry gently until slightly golden. Remove with a spoon and set aside. Now add the chicken, in batches, and fry for 3 minutes on either side until golden brown all over. Return the garlic to the pan along with the bay and pour in the wine, shaking the pan as you do so to help the wine emulsify with the oil. Simmer for 2 minutes to evaporate some alcohol, while turning the chicken in the sauce. Stir in the water, cover with a lid and simmer for 4 minutes. Take out any breast meat (if cooked), and put to one side. Continue to cook the brown meat for another 10 minutes. Add the breast back to the pot, season and add more water to the sauce if required. Taste for seasoning.

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