There's an old Mediterranean saying: “For the one who likes working, there's always something to do” . . . which brings me to this wonderful, slow Catalan specialty. I know it's a ridiculously long recipe, but it isn't hard. While it is traditionally made with partridges, I've found it works well with our readily available Cornish game hens.
The hens are marinated, simmered with aromatic vegetables, smothered with leaves of cabbage, then slowly cooked until everything is tender. The cabbage leaves, perfumed with the birds' essence, are then drained, stuffed, rolled in flour and eggs, and fried. Meanwhile, the sauce is enriched with a picada, a sauce based on toasted almonds. This dish is a perfect example of the intricacy of Catalan cooking. The delicious result is the payoff.
The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen by Paula Wolfert. Copyright © 2003 by Paula Wolfert. Photographs copyright © by Christopher Hirsheimer. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.