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.