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Braised Chicken and Tomatoes with Garlic and Dried Fruits
1¼ hours 50 minutes active
Pollo a la catalana, or chicken simmered with wine and dried fruits, is a classic cool weather dish in the Catalonia region of Spain. A contrast of savory flavors and sweet accents characterizes the elegant braise, but there are no hard and fast rules to preparing it. Barcelona home cook Cali Caparrós Sanchez taught us her version, which is studded with apricots and prunes and spiked with a good measure of brandy. Picada—a blended or pounded pesto-like mix of olive oil, herbs, nuts, garlic and a starchy element such as bread or crackers to act as a binder—is customarily stirred into the dish at the finish. Sanchez added a parsley and almond picada to her braise. We adapted her recipe, and in our version, we make a mix of olive oil, grated garlic, chopped parsley and chopped smoked almonds (roasted or Marcona almonds are good, too) to spoon onto the braise just before serving. The smoked almonds may be unconventional, but their smokiness adds depth similar to pimentón. This simpler approach allowed the flavors of the braise to be clearer and brighter. Serve with crusty bread and a simple salad.
cup pitted prunes