CHICKEN, CHORIZO & HAM STEWED IN TOMATOES & WHITE WINE
THIS RECIPE WAS ADAPTED from La verdadera cocina yucateca (true regional cuisine) by Manuela Navarette A., published in Valladolid in 1910. This rich stew can be completed in under an hour, not counting brining the chicken – an optional step. When served with Arroz Amarillo or Rojo, the combined flavors remind me of paella, so much so that I once tossed in a handful of raw shrimp at the last minute. If you try that option, be sure to wait until the very final 2-3 minutes of cooking time so as not to overcook the shrimp. Alcaparrado is a mixture of capers, raisins, and olives popular in Cuban as well as Yucatecan food; doña Manuela also added almonds.
Prepare ahead notes: If you opt to brine, the chicken should be brined several hours in advance. The flavors of Pollos en alcaparrado become richer with an overnight rest in the refrigerator. However, when ready to serve, be sure to reheat gently and briefly so as not to overcook the chicken. To prepare ahead: (Refer to Yucatán: Recipes from a Culinary Expedition). Enriched Lard, p. 513; brined chicken, p. 536; Recado para todo, p. 499.
YIELD: 6 servings
For the sauté
• 3 Tbs. (42g) Enriched Lard
• 9 oz. (250g) pork loin, cut into ¾” (2 cm) cubes
• 9 oz. (250g) chorizo, sliced on the diagonal to ½-inch (1.25cm) thick slices
• 9 oz. (250g) smoked ham, whole, cut into ½ -inch (1.25cm) cubes
• 3 lbs. (1.5 k) chicken, brined and cut into six pieces. NOTE: Instead of the whole chicken, you may use any combination of pieces you wish, preferably with bone and skin intact.
For the sofrito
• 1 cup (170g) white onion, finely chopped
• 4 medium cloves garlic (3/4 oz. / 24g), peeled and finely chopped
• 1 tsp. (3g) Recado para Todo
• 1 tsp. (6) salt
• 2 lbs. (1 K) Roma tomatoes, charred and coarsely crushed by pulsing 1-2 times in a food processor or blender
• 4 cups (1 L) chicken stock or bouillon
For stewing the meats & finishing
• ½ cup (120g) capers, drained
• ½ cup (125ml) dry white wine
• ¼ cup (62.5ml) white wine vinegar
• ½ cup (60g) breadcrumbs
• Arroz Amarillo (p. 529) OR Arroz Rojo (p. 530) OR Arroz con Camarón (p. 531), suggested accompaniment
• K’uut bi Ik (p. 508), or the chile sauce of your choice
Heat lard in a large, heavy skillet until hot but not smoking. Add pork loin several cubes at a time, but avoid overcrowding; sauté over medium heat until well browned overall but not cooked through; transfer browned pork to a platter as you finish the rest. When all the pork is browned, add chorizo to the skillet, and sauté until lightly browned and some of its fat has rendered; add ham and cook until lightly browned and heated through. Transfer chorizo and ham with a slotted spoon to the platter with the pork; reserve the fat in the skillet. Brown chicken pieces in the fat a few at a time, adding more lard or vegetable oil if necessary. Transfer browned pieces to the platter with the other meats; continue until all of the chicken has been browned.
PREPARE THE SOFRITO
Drain off all but 3 Tbs. (45ml) of the fat in the skillet; reduce heat to low; add onion and garlic to the fat. Cook until onions are translucent, 2-3 minutes. Add recado and salt, and stir to blend, cooking an additional 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and chicken stock; bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and continue cooking 2-3 minutes.
STEW MEATS & FINISH
Return meats to the skillet; use a wooden spoon to push meats down into the tomato sauce to cover. Add next three ingredients and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes; add breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Cook an additional 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened. (Check with a meat thermometer: the chicken should register about 160˚F / 71˚C. As you finish, the chicken will continue to cook and the temperature will rise another 5˚ to a final temperature of 165˚F / 74˚C.)
TO SERVE: Place a mound of rice in the center of an individual serving plate; top with a piece of chicken, some of the other meats, and a bit of the sauce. Diners add their own hot sauce to taste.