I use thyme in a lot of chicken dishes and this is one of my favourites. Picada is a Catalan method for thickening stews and soups and involves making a flavoured paste from almonds, bread and liquid (I use olive oil & verjuice here). Other flavourings are also added depending on the dish being prepared. Traditionally the picada would have been made in a mortar & pestle but I’m lazy and generally use a food processor. The picada is added towards the end of the cooking time to bring another dimension to the dish.
This particular recipe is adapted from one in one of my favourite cookbooks called: Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons by Diana Henry. The book includes recipes from all round the Mediterranean and I have yet to cook one from it that I didn’t really enjoy.
Chicken with Picada
- a whole chicken – jointed (I usually get the butcher to cut it into 6 or 8 pieces)
- Olive oil (why is it that I always forget to measure the oil when I am preparing recipes to blog about….I think 2-3 tblspns should be about right for this.)
- 2 medium onions – finely chopped
- 4 medium tomatoes – finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – finely chopped
- 300ml chicken stock
- 6 big sprigs of thyme
- 25g pine nuts
- 75g raisins soaked in verjuice (or sweet sherry, or white wine or water)
- a small bunch of parsley – chopped
- 1 plain sweet biscuit
- 25g sour dough bread cut into croutons and fried in olive oil
- 25g blanched almonds ( or ground almonds)
- 75ml verjuice or dry white wine
- 45ml extra virgin olive oil
Cover the base of a large pan in olive oil. Add the chicken pieces. Brown the chicken (but dont cook it through) and remove from the pan. Add onion to the pan and cook until soft. Then add tomatoes and garlic and cook over a low heat until it forms a thick sauce. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Reintroduce the chicken to the pan along with the thyme, pine nuts & raisins. Cook gently until the chicken is done.
Meanwhile make the picada by blitzing the picada ingredients in a food processor until it forms a paste like constistency. When the chicken is just done add the picada and cook for a further 5 or so minutes over a low heat while the picada thickens the sauce.
Garnish with the parlsey and serve with bread.