Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce

The flavors of this delicious dish perfectly embody a rustic Spanish braise. If you have ever made romesco sauce you will recognize the technique here. Just like romesco, nuts and breadcrumbs are the backbone of this sauce. But, what made me fall in love with this dish…the first time I tried is many years ago in Madrid…is the garlicky, almond Sherry flavor. To me, those taste memories always evoke a leisurely, late in the evening Spanish meal. There is a good chance you are going to have a decent amount of extra sauce – great news for a future dinner (this sauce freezes great). You could also serve the leftover sauce as a romesco-style dip, it would be delicious with a toasted  baguette and crudites.


Chicken in Garlic-Almond Sauce
Author: 
Serves: 6-8
 
This is just one of those recipes you must make in a food processor or blender. You would not be able to get the almond paste consistency without one of the them. You can make this meal with chicken breasts or thighs, I personally prefer breasts, you can also make this an even healthier meal by taking the skin off the chicken. But definitely make sure you use bone-in chicken, the bones keep the chicken juicy. Last thought I have to share - this recipe uses A LOT of olive oil. Just remember two things, one that you are serving 6-8 people (personally I think you could almost serve 10) and two, you are making a huge batch of sauce, so you are getting a second meal’s sauce or a delicious dip along with this recipe. Happy cooking!
Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp plus 1 cup Olive oil, divided
  • 4½ - 5 lb. Chicken breasts, bone-in with skin
  • 1 cup Almonds, slivered
  • 8 tsp Garlic, minced
  • 4 cups Panko or homemade breadcrumbs (see note)
  • 2 cups Dry sherry, divided (see note)
  • 4 cups Chicken broth, low-sodium, divided 1 tsp Saffron
  • 2 tsp Kosher salt, divided
  • 4 tbsp Butter, unsalted
  • 2 Onions, small, minced (need about 1½ cups)
  • 2 tbsp Parsley, flat-leaf, minced
Instructions
  1. In a large Dutch oven, heat ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Sprinkle olive oil with ½ tsp Kosher salt. Sauté 2-3 chicken breasts at a time (you will need to do two batches), until both sides are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer browned chicken breasts to a plate. Repeat with additional ¼ cup olive oil, ½ tsp Kosher salt and remaining chicken breasts.
  2. Heat 4 tbsp olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add slivered almonds and sauté until golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Remove almonds to a paper towel to drain the excess oil.
  3. Heat ¼ cup olive oil in the Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 4 tsp of garlic and 2 cups of the breadcrumbs and sauté until lightly toasted. Transfer to food processor. Repeat with an additional ¼ cup olive oil and the remaining 4 tsp of garlic and 2 cups of breadcrumbs. Remove from heat and let the breadcrumbs sit briefly in the pot.
  4. Add ⅓ cup almonds, 1 cup Sherry, 2 cups chicken broth, ½ tsp saffron and 1 tsp Kosher salt to the garlic and breadcrumbs in the food processor. Process until smooth and transfer to a bowl.
  5. Repeat with the remaining garlic and breadcrumbs, an additional ⅓ cup almonds, 1 cup Sherry, 2 cups chicken broth, ½ tsp saffron and 1 tsp Kosher salt. Process to smooth and leave in the food processor while you continue with the recipe.
  6. Heat Dutch oven to medium heat and add the butter. Once melted, add the onions. Stirring frequently, cook until onions start to caramelized, about 5 minutes.
  7. Return the sauce in the bowl and the sauce in the food processor back to the Dutch oven, stir to combine with the onions. Add the chicken pieces, making sure to submerge the chicken in the sauce.
  8. Simmer, partially covered, until chicken is cooked through. Check doneness after 15 minutes, though it might take an additional 5 to 10 minutes to finish cooking the chicken. If you have a digital thermometer, this is a great time to break it out - you are looking for an internal temperature of 160 degrees (the chicken is ready to eat when it has a temperature of 165, it will rise the last 5 degrees while it rests on the plate).
  9. Plate chicken and sauce in shallow bowls. Garnish with some of the remaining slivered almonds and flat-leaf parsley if desired.
Notes
Do not use store-bought regular breadcrumbs in this recipe. They are too heavy for this sauce. Panko breadcrumbs, which are made from bread, but not the crusts, are so much better in this recipe. You can find Panko breadcrumbs on the baking and Asian aisles at the grocery store.

If you don’t have sherry you can use dry white wine. While your dish will be delicious, it won’t have that “Spanish” taste.

 

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