Featured on Woman's Hour Radio 4 Wednesday 7th April 2010
1 large chicken, about 2-2.5kig/4.5-5.5lb, jointed into 8 pieces
250ml/8.5fl oz hot chicken stock
36 or so whole, blanched Marcona almonds
good pinch of saffron stamens
2-3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
1 thick slice stale, good bread, crusts removed
sea salt and black pepper
a suspicion of nutmeg
2 cloves, crushed
125 m/4 fl oz fino sherry
a sprig of bay leaves
4 sprigs of thyme, leaves stripped
1 tbsp flat-leaf parsley
spritz of lemon juice
Have the chicken joints and stock ready. Preheat the oven to 150c Gas 2. Scatter the almonds on a small baking tray and toast in the oven for 5-10 minutes until golden.
Soak the saffron stamens in a ladleful of the hot chicken stock in a small bowl.
Heat 2 tbsp olive oil and the garlic slices gently in a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan until hot; do not let the garlic brown. Fry the bread in the garlicky oil on both sides until crisp and browned and then remove it to the garlic plate.
Season the pieces of chicken well and sprinkle with a little freshly grated nutmeg and the crushed cloves. Add a little extra olive oil to the pan if you need to brown the chicken pieces on all sides. This will take about 20 minutes. Remove the browned chicken to a plate.
Add the chicken stock (not the infused saffron stock) to the frying pan with the sherry and scrape up the sediment with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan. Let the liquids bubble for a few minutes, then return the chicken to the pan. Add the bay and thyme leaves. Cover with the lid and simmer for a further 10 minutes.
Blitz the toasted almonds in a blender until the coarse side of ground. Tear the fried bread into pieeces and add to the nuts with the fried garlic, parsley and saffron-infused chicken stock. Blitz to puree.
Scrape the mixture into the chicken pan and stir to amalgamate with the juices. If it looks very thick, add a little more hot chicken stock. Taste and adjust the seasoning and add a sprtiz of lemon juice.