To make pollo en pepitoria that was rich but balanced, we brightened the lush nut-and egg yolk–thickened sauce with canned tomatoes (more consistent year-round than fresh tomatoes) and a little lemon juice. We added some of the braising liquid to the nut mixture when we blended it to make the sauce; this helped it puree thoroughly but still retain a pleasantly coarse consistency. Chicken thighs are fully cooked when they reach 175 degrees, but we purposely overcooked them and did it slowly which
allowed collagen in the meat to break down into gelatin, making the meat more tender and juicy. We were happy to find that we could also make this rich braise well in advance and keep it in the freezer. See our recipe for Easy-Peel Hard-Cooked Eggs.
- Yield: 4 Servings
- Total Time: 2 Hours
- 8 (5-to 7-ounce) bone-in chicken thighs, trimmed
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped fine
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bay leaf
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ⅔ cup dry sherry
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped fine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled, yolks and whites separated, whites minced
- ½ cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted
- Pinch saffron threads, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1½ teaspoons lemon juice
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Pat chicken dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add thighs and brown on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer thighs to large plate, discard skin, and pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet.
- Return skillet to medium heat, add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons garlic, bay leaf, and cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add sherry and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until beginning to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and broth and bring to simmer. Return thighs to skillet, cover, transfer to oven, and cook until chicken registers 195 degrees, 45 to 50 minutes. Transfer thighs to serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm.
- Discard bay leaf. Transfer ¾ cup chicken cooking liquid, egg yolks, almonds, saffron, and remaining garlic to blender jar. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down jar as needed. Return almond mixture to skillet. Add 1 tablespoon parsley and lemon juice and bring to simmer over medium heat. Cook, whisking frequently, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Pour sauce over chicken, sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon parsley and egg whites, and serve.