Spanish Chicken Wings

As a fan of the Gastronomía de España, I try to enjoy good Spanish food whenever I get the opportunity.  There are a couple of terrific and authentic tapas restaurants in southwest Florida, which I take advantage of when time and my travelling schedules permit.  I’m also a bit of an amateur chef-at-heart and will scour the web for regional dishes that are flavorful but not too challenging to prepare.

Here’s a good tapas dish from noted Spanish chef Jose Andres that I found on the Vibrant Rioja website at www.vibrantrioja.com

These chicken wings are moist and flavorful and a cinch to make.  Serves 4.

Pollo al ajillo (Chicken with Garlic)

10 garlic cloves

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

12 chicken wings cut in half at the joint

3 sprigs fresh thyme

1 bay leaf

1/4 cup Manzanilla sherry

1/4 cup chicken stock

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

“Split open the garlic cloves by placing them on a chopping board and pressing down hard with the base of your hand or with the flat side of a knife. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over a medium flame, add the garlic, and sauté until it is lightly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Add the chicken wings, and sauté until browned on all sides, 5 minutes. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and sherry. Stir the mixture well so the oil and sherry emulsify, and simmer for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock and cook for 1 more minute. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve.”

If you don’t have homemade chicken stock, you can substitute a ¼ cup of sodium-free chicken broth.  I use my homemade turkey stock that I make after Thanksgiving and freeze in single serving containers for just such an occasion (see my “Talking Turkey (Stock)” blog from November 26).

For the Manzanilla Sherry, I used Hidalgo Manzanilla La Gitana.  We carry it at ABCFWS and it’s a relative bargain at $14.99 per bottle.  It also is a terrific match with this dish.  Serve it ice cold at about 45°F.

Jim Greeley, Wine Supervisor, SW Florida

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