Pollo a la catalana or pollo Rustico a la catalana, no matter how you know it, what matters is that you know it's that rich roast chicken with nuts and plums that is usually the star of any Catalan Christmas dinner dish.
This dish was reserved for noble people or big festivities many years ago. Still, it is a recipe anyone can prepare because it is easy to make, and its incredible flavor does not require too many ingredients. Unlike a Christmas turkey, for example, this chicken is made in a casserole, and its cooking does not take more than 45 minutes. So you won't have to wait too long to enjoy a rich and nutritious dish with an unforgettable combination of flavors and textures, thanks to the sweet plums, the salty chicken, the crunchy pine nuts, and the softness of the meat.
Here we will show you the traditional recipe for roast chicken Catalan style. However, it is worth mentioning that there is an excellent variety of ways in which you can cook the chicken in this recipe to preserve the seasoning but enjoy different versions. Besides, you must remember that being such an old and classic preparation, you may never taste one roast chicken the same as another. Because of this, it is enough to use the basic recipe and dare to change small things to achieve a unique and personal touch.
How to prepare chicken a la catalana?
This dish has a lot of concentrated flavors, so don't worry about garnishes. Just pay attention to elevating the aromas and taste of the chicken. It can be enjoyed with mashed potatoes, rice, french fries, a little bread, or even on its own.
Ingredients: (For approximately 6 people)
- 1 large chicken (Preferably free-range)
- 2 tomatoes
- 2 large white onions
- 1 head of garlic
- 2 cloves
- 50 ml extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 200 grams of prunes
- 200 grams of raisins
- 100 grams of pine nuts
- 300 ml of rancio wine, cognac or brandy
- The first step is to chop the chicken into large pieces or as you prefer, depending on your taste. If you feel it needs to be more effort, buy the chopped chicken.
- Peel the onions and cut them into julienne strips. Next, proceed to pit the raisins and prunes.
- Take a bowl and add warm water. Soak the raisins and prunes to hydrate them and let them stay there for 15 minutes, adding more flavor to the dish.
- Choose a large casserole dish to hold all the chicken pieces and pour a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. While it is heating, season the chicken with salt and pepper.
- Sauté the onion over low heat until transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry over high heat until the liquid reduces.
- Remove the onion and tomatoes, adding more olive oil to the pan.
- Add the chicken pieces and, while they are browning, mash the vegetables to a puree. Reserve the puree.
- When the chicken is browned, add the garlic cloves (without peeling them) along with the cloves. Pour the liqueur and stir everything for about two minutes so the alcohol evaporates appropriately.
- Add the puree to the pan, together with the cinnamon, the prunes, and the raisins. Cover the pan and lower the heat until the temperature is shallow.
- Cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken is tender. If the liquid reduces too much, add a little water.
- Add the pine nuts to a frying pan within 10 minutes of cooking the chicken. Taste and adjust the salt if necessary.
- Turn off the heat and let it rest for about 5 minutes before plating.
- Serve the chicken pieces and pour the sauce over them. Ready! It's time to enjoy.
Change the olive oil for a bit of lard or combine both to be more faithful to the original recipe. This will give a different touch of flavor that you will surely like.
People prefer to use free-range chickens, as these have a more intense flavor and tend to have a lower amount of fat. In addition, the consistency of the meat is better, and it can be softened more easily.
What do you think of the recipe? Try it at home and discover how tasty chicken a la catalana can be!