Chicken with Spring Peas

Poyo Kon Bizelas

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Serves

    6 to 8

Appears in

Sephardic Flavors: Jewish Cooking of the Mediterranean

Sephardic Flavors

By Joyce Goldstein

Published 2000

  • About

When fresh peas are sweet, they are a seasonal delight that make this dish both beautiful to look at and delicious to eat. Even in spring, however, not all fresh peas are tender and sweet, so if the sample pea you taste at the market is starchy, it is fine to use frozen peas, as they are usually consistently sweet and tender. The celery is not essential, but it does contribute moisture and a certain leafy character to the dish. This chicken preparation is very much like an old Portuguese recipe called frango com ervilhas. In that recipe, sautéed onions are added, as well as a bit of dry port or Madeira. The dill or mint used here is clearly a Turkish touch. I think some sautéed green onions would enhance this dish, and I would add them when I add the celery and fresh peas. Serve the chicken with rice or noodles.

Ingredients

  • 1 large frying chicken, about 4 pounds, or 2 young frying chickens, each about pounds, cut into serving pieces
  • all-purpose flour
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper vegetable oil for frying
  • 1 cup water or chicken stock, or as needed
  • ½ cup chopped green onion, including green tops (optional)
  • 8 celery stalks, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 4 pounds english peas, shelled, or 2 packages (10 ounces each) frozen peas, thawed
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons chopped fresh dill or mint
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, if needed

Method

Rinse the chicken pieces and pat dry. Spread the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Pour vegetable oil to a depth of ¼ inch into a large, heavy sauté pan and place over medium-high heat. One at a time, dip the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour, shaking off the excess flour, and slip them into the hot oil. Fry, turning as needed, until golden on all sides. If necessary, do this in batches to avoid crowding the chicken pieces in the pan. As the pieces are ready, transfer them to a large stew pot. Add the 1 cup water or stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Check the water level after about 10 minutes, and add water if the level has dropped.

Add the green onions, if using, the celery, the fresh peas, and the dill or mint and continue to simmer, covered, until the chicken is tender, 15 to 20 minutes longer. If using thawed frozen peas, add them during the last 5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding the sugar if you think the peas warrant the additional sweetness.

Arrange the chicken pieces on a serving platter and spoon the sauce, peas, and celery over the top. Serve immediately.