Pollo al Ajillo is a very common, simple, and easy dish in Spanish cuisine, it is also common in Cuban kitchens as well. The dish is prepared with chicken or rabbit, your choice. Everyone cooks it differently however, but the simplest and common elements in all of them is olive oil, salt, water, wine, and garlic.
The rest can vary, the cooking methods, how much garlic, how the garlic is cut, what combination of herbs to use, with potatoes without it’s all personal preference. Also some Cuban cooks like to make the sauce lemon flavored by omitting all the herbs and only using bay leaves and lemon juice of course don’t forget the salt. And for those that like heat spicy dry peppers can be used. Heck I’ve seen recipes surfing the web that make a soy sauce version of the dish ha ha pretty cool in my opinion 🙂
However if preparing with rabbit I believe using fresh herbs and bay leaves is important to help mask the gaminess it may have.
I currently have lots of fresh herbs and Travis brought me a small “Bouquet garniat” which had fresh thyme, rosemary, and sage today so that’s what herbs I used to prepare the in addition to some bay leaves I tied with the Bouquet “Pollo al Ajillo“ let me tell you the Pollo al Ajillo we made today at home with the “Bouquet garniat” was a hit in my house EVERYBODY loved it.
–extra-virgin olive oil
-3-4 lbs. chicken meat cut into pieces (I use legs and thighs, a whole chicken cut up can be used)
-12 cloves garlic minced or cut into thin rounds your choice
-1 cup white wine plus a couple more splashes
-1 1/2 cup water or chicken stock (you can use water with 1 tsp. chicken bouillon)
–salt to taste
-10 black peppercorns (may replace with fresh ground black pepper)
-3 bay leaves
-1 sprig rosemary
-2 sprig thyme
-1 small bunch sage leaves (you can replace it with oregano, I used sage leaves because I had them on hand)
(1) Heat pan on high heat, when real hot add generous amounts of olive oil, add chicken seasoned liberally with salt brown on all sides, set chicken aside.
(2) In same oil, fry the garlic until beautiful and golden, then add white wine, water or stock bring a rolling boil add chicken back along with black peppercorns, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and sage all tied into a bundle with string, cover and simmer on medium low for 30 minutes.
(3) Turn off heat, remove bay leaves, thyme, rosemary and oregano sprigs.
(4) Dust liberally with finely minced parsley if desired to garnish
(5) Serve with fried cubed potatoes or me having some Cuban descent everything goes well with white rice 🙂 a salad would be good if desired to. Don’t forget to spoon over those flavorful juices over the chicken. A salad goes nice or some vegetable side (I just like eating veggies with everything, I had a vegetable soup as a starter that my mother made with beef bones, and tons of greens we had in the fridge)
(1) This is optional but you can add about 4 fried cubed potatoes to the dish towards the end of cooking, or actually add cubed potatoes that are raw to simmer with the chicken probably like the last 20 minutes of cooking.
(2)You let the liquid reduce half way to the chicken, if it seems to dry though add a mixture of 1/2 water and wine to add more liquid if it somehow reduces during cooking waayyyy to much.