Chicken with dried plums also known as chicken in the Catalan way (pollastre a la catalana), is a Catalan dish – as the name suggests – most often prepared for special occasions and holidays. Traditionally the whole chicken stuffed with meat, botifarra sausage, dried plums and pine nuts was roasted; but it was in old times when normally there was only one dish on a table which was supposed to fill up all members of the family. Nowadays, however, the tables are full of countless different dishes and the traditional chicken would be simply too much, so it’s often replaced by pieces of chicken with dried plums and pine nuts. To prepare this dish you will need liqueur wine, called in Spanish vino rancio and known colloquially enhanced wine, due to the fact that it has more alcohol than a regular wine. If you do not have this kind of wine you can replace it with Spanish Sherry wine (Jerez), with Port, Madeira, Marsala wine or with rum or cognac.
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 chicken cut into pieces (used 1,3 kg one)
100 g dried plums
80 g raisins
2 tablespoons pine nuts
4 tablespoons olive oil
5 garlic cloves
250 ml tomato puree
200 ml dry liqueur wine (used Vi Ranci)
1 stick of cinnamon
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Soaked dried plums and raisins in the wine and set aside in the fridge, preferably overnight. Season the pieces of chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper. Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chicken until golden brown. Add onions, cut finely into slices, unpeeled garlic cloves and cinnamon stick. Fry over high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring from time to time. Drain the soaked fruits and keep both ingredients. Add the wine to the chicken. Once evaporated, add the tomato puree and fry for a few more minutes. Then add about 200 ml of water, reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and simmer for about 30 minutes. After this time, add plums and raisins. Again, add a little bit of water – if needed – cover and simmer for 40-50 minutes, until tender. In the meantime, fry the pine nuts in a dry frying pan, until golden brown. Before serving, sprinkle them on top of the chicken.