POLLASTRE A LA CATALANA
Wine-Braised Chicken with Prunes and Cinnamon
When Chef Marc mentions the classic dish of Pollastre a la Catalana, anyone who knows him can tell that he’s talking about more than a plate of wine-braised chicken with prunes and cinnamon. His face lights up, and you can see that even just in describing it, he is transported back to his native Barcelona; to smells wafting from his mother and father’s restaurant; to his grandmother’s kitchen on a cool summer night.
Most of us have dishes in our repertoires that incite similar memories for us. And while the connection between food and memory is a scientific reality—the connection between food and family is something much more visceral and indiscernible. Even if you haven’t (yet) experienced the comforting flavors of Marc’s Grandmother’s Pollastre a la Catalana, your first bite may very well bring you back to a place all-too-familiar. That’s the magic of food. Whether it’s a dish that your mother always made you, a dish your mother never made you, or a dish your mother couldn’t make you; food has the power to take you home to the place you’ve never lived.
To all of the mothers and mothers of mothers (and others): thank you for the food—we’ll savor it as always. Happy Mother’s Day!
From the Boqueria Cookbook
Serves: 4 to 6
Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 2 ¾ hours
Wine-Braised Chicken with Prunes and Cinnamon:
1 whole (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large white Spanish onions, quartered and cut into ½-inch slices
10 large garlic cloves with skins left on
11/4 cups pitted prunes
1 cups dry white wine
2 cinnamon sticks
kosher salt and freshly ground black
Generously season the chicken with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large, deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, in a single layer. Cook until the skin is nicely browned and crisp, about 12 minutes. Flip all the pieces and cook until browned, about 7 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a plate.
Add the onions and garlic to the hot pan and season with salt. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are deeply caramelized and brown, about 20 minutes. Add the prunes, wine, and cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then return the chicken to the pan, skin side up, along with any accumulated juices. Add 1 cup water. Bring the mixture to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the chicken is very tender, turning the pieces occasionally, about 50 minutes. The meat should be falling off the bone. Let rest in the pan, covered, for at least 20 minutes. This dish tastes best if made a day ahead and chilled overnight, then reheated.
What we love about cooking is the way it brings family and friends together. We hope that these recipes and their origin stories will allow you to bring a bit of the Boqueria experience to your very own kitchen, and that the cooking, the conversations, and the connections they inspire will become part of your life as they have ours.