Aurora, mother of the owner of the bar, Bodega de Pepe, in which Vanessa and I worked, taught us how to cook this wonderful sauce, which is made from dried peppers. I remember the day she showed us this dish so well, because just prior to cooking she had taken us on an impromptu tour around town. As we wandered the narrow streets she very quietly and solemnly pointed out Civil War battle sites. On one side of the street were the Monarchists and on the other were the Republicans. She said that in the middle — ‘la sangre corría por las calles’ — the streets ran with blood. The Spanish Civil War was such a time of social upheaval with family turning on family and village turning on village, that I think we are lucky that the Spanish culture remained intact. War destroys societies. Food brings people together, whether preparing, eating or talking about it.
We went back to the kitchen and Aurora carefully showed us how to cook the pimientos choriceros and reduce the sauce. As these peppers are so difficult to come by we have adapted the recipe to use red capsicums. Once you know how to cook the sauce you can use it for any lean poultry, game birds, rabbit and, in the next chapter, lamb. It makes a beautiful looking dish of dark chicken and deep red sauce. Bring it to the table and share it with your family.
In a large bowl, season the chicken pieces with the thyme, a few good pinches of fine sea salt and
To make the chilindrón sauce, heat
Add the capsicum, cover and cook for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the capsicum is soft. Add the tomato, stir, cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the white wine and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Add about
Heat the remaining olive oil in a large heavy-based frying pan over high heat and add six pieces of chicken. After 30 seconds reduce the heat to medium. Season the chicken with
Once all the chicken has been browned put it in a large roasting tin, leaving
Gently cook in the oven for 1–1½ hours. As it is cooking the sauce will evaporate, creating a dark crusty top on the chicken. The chicken is ready when the thigh flesh comes away easily from the bone. Serve immediately.
© 2007 All rights reserved. Published by Murdoch Books.