Chicken with Prunes, Pine Nuts and Sausage

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    4–6

Appears in

This is my version of a Catalan dish, which I presume came to Spain via the Moors of Africa as it contains so many Moroccan elements. By the time it’s finished this dish is quite rich, so you could easily leave out one or two of the dried fruits if you haven’t got them, or just disagree with me.

Ingredients

  • a 1.75–2 kg free-range chicken
  • flour
  • 3 tbsp duck fat or olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small carrot, finely chopped
  • a 10 cm stick of celery, finely chopped
  • 1 kg ripe chopped tomatoes (not necessary to peel or deseed them) or 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 glass dry white wine
  • 150 ml chicken stock
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • 2 medium cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 parsley sprigs
  • ¼ tsp fresh thyme
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • a 3 cm piece of orange peel
  • 4 small chorizo or other spicy sausages or black pudding
  • 4 tbsp each pine nuts, raisins, diced dried apricots, and dried pitted prunes

Method

Remove the breast meat (including the wing bones) from the chicken, and the legs, cut off at the thighs. Make a stock with the carcass as indicated. Cut each piece of chicken in half to make 8 pieces. Remove the skin if you find it easy (it won’t be crisp after cooking). Put some flour in a paper bag and shake the pieces in it one by one. Get 2 tbsp of the duck fat or oil very hot in a large saucepan. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with some of the salt and brown them quickly on all sides over moderately high heat. Remove to a plate. In the hot fat cook the onion, carrot and celery briskly until they are lightly browned. Add the tomatoes, wine, stock, sugar, garlic, bay leaf, parsley, thyme, fennel seeds, coriander, orange peel, and the rest of the salt, and bring to a simmer. Put in the thighs and drumsticks and cook, covered, for 30 minutes, then add the breast pieces. Cook for a further 5 minutes.

While this is happening, heat the rest of the fat or oil in a frying pan. Prick the sausages here and there and brown them well on all sides and remove to cool a little. Add the pine nuts to the pan and brown them lightly, taking care not to burn them. Add the dried fruit and cook for a couple of minutes, stirring. Cut the sausages into thick slices and add back to the pan. Take the chicken pieces out of the sauce and transfer them to the frying pan. Press the sauce through a sieve on to the chicken and sausage mixture, and heat together for 10 minutes. Check the seasoning (salt and sugar) and boil the sauce down if it needs reducing. Put the chicken pieces in a handsome serving dish and pour everything over them.

As this is a Spanish dish, serve some butter beans, haricot beans or chickpeas, heated in some olive oil and sprinkled with marjoram or oregano leaves.