Sunday, 21 June 2015

Deliciously Moorish

By: Mr Robot

The butcher had Guinea Fowl this weekend so I couldn't help picking one up. I was immediately thinking of Andalucia and the joy that is poultry cooked with saffron and almonds.

Saffron and Almond - the start of so much goodness

 It's one of the classic Moorish flavours that comes up over and over again in Southern Spain and we've got about a zillion recipes for this but they all revolve around the same basis. Guinea fowl (or chicken if you prefer) pieces are fried until brown and then deglazed with fino, manzanilla or white wine and then simmered with a little chicken stock and saffron.

Toasted almonds, fried garlic and fried bread are blitzed up and stirred in for the last few minutes, and it's enlivened with paprika, lemon juice and fresh parsley to make a wonderfully thick, rich sauce that sends me through the Proustgate to the searing heat, white walls and jasmine-filled air of the plazas of old Seville.

I know it's appallingly expensive but I've learned that it's vital to have a heavy hand with the saffron. You want a full punch of it, not some miserly background hint. Those crappy little packs you get in the supermarket? You'll need at least half of it. It's best indulged rarely but well - saffron is made for bingeing, not homeopathy.

Far better value, I find, is to have a brilliant trip to Spain and bring back a ton of the stuff. It's much cheaper over there, and is overall a rather nicer destination than Tesco. But that's just me.

Since you're using a jointed bird this is a fairly quick dinner that only needs about 20 minutes cooking in total. It would easily work mid-week, especially if the sun is shining and the patio calls. There isn't really any veg that makes much sense to serve alongside. A light salad before or after is a much better bet - just serve it up with some nice crusty bread for mopping.

Oh, and make sure you've got a good supply of sherry or vino to hand, since this dish practically demands conviviality late into the night.

All images (c) PP Gettins

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