Sunday, March 04, 2007

Chicken Zarzuela Casserole

This was very good. Very fast to prepare and very yummy! The almond mixture that is stirred in at the end really makes the dish so don't leave it out! I made a few changes though; I halved the recipe, we left out the olives, and I used crushed tomatoes since that was all I had. Also, the chicken was done after 20 minutes and not the 40 minutes as specified in the recipe. We served over rice.

There is also a slowcooker version that I have included as well.

Chicken Zarzuela Casserole
Canadian Living Magazine

Ground almonds thicken this Spanish zarzuela sauce, traditionally used with seafood. If you like potatoes, boil up a few, cut into chunks and add to the casserole before heating through.

Ingredients
16 Skinless chicken thighs (about 4 lb/2 kg)
1 tsp (5 mL) Salt
1/2 tsp (2 mL) Pepper
1 tbsp (15 mL) Vegetable oil
1/2 cup (125 mL) Dry white wine (or chicken stock plus 2 tbsp/25 mL white wine vinegar)
1 tbsp (15 mL) Extra-virgin olive oil 2 Spanish onions, chopped 6 Cloves garlic, minced 1 can (28 oz/796 mL) Tomatoes
4 tsp (20 mL) Sweet paprika
1 tsp (5 mL) Dried marjoram or oregano
1/4 tsp (1 mL) Saffron threads
1/3 cup (75 mL) Ground almonds
1 tbsp (15 mL) Lemon juice
1 cup (250 mL) Large green olives, pitted and halved
1/4 cup (50 mL) Chopped fresh parsley

Preparation
1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp (2 mL) of the salt and pepper. In large nonstick skillet, heat vegetable oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken in batches, 6 minutes per batch. Transfer to 13- x 9-inch (3 L) glass baking dish. Drain off any fat from skillet. Add wine; bring to boil, stirring to scrape up brown bits. Pour over chicken.

2. Wipe out skillet; heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook onions and 4 of the garlic cloves until golden, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes, paprika, marjoram and remaining salt, breaking up tomatoes with wooden spoon. Bring to boil; pour over chicken.

3. Cover loosely with foil and bake in 375°F (190°C) oven until chicken is no longer pink inside, about 40 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, crumble saffron into bowl; pour in 2 tbsp (25 mL) hot water and let sit for 5 minutes. Add almonds, remaining garlic and lemon juice. Uncover casserole; stir in almond mixture and olives.

5. Bake until heated through, about 10 minutes. (Make-ahead: Let cool for 30 minutes. Transfer to airtight container. Refrigerate, uncovered, until cold. Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day. Or freeze for up to 2 weeks; thaw in refrigerator for 24 hours. Reheat in 375°F/190°C oven until hot, about 40 minutes.) Stir in parsley.

Nutritional information Per serving: about 356 cal, 35 g pro, 17 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 16 g carb, 4 g fibre, 138 mg chol, 1,040 mg sodium. % RDI: 9% calcium, 26% iron, 17% vit A, 35% vit C, 15% folate.

Chicken Zarzuela (Slowcooker version)
Canadian Living Magazine

16 chicken thighs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 tbsp oil
2 spanish onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken stock plus 2 tbsp white wine vinegar)
1 can (28oz.) tomatoes
4 tsp paprika
1 tsp marjoram or oregano
1/4 tsp saffron threads
1/3 cup ground almonds
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup large green olives, pitted and halves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp tomato paste

1. Sprinkle chicken with 1/2 tsp of the salt and pepper. In a large non-stick skillet, heat 1 tbsp of the oil over medium-high heat; brown chicken, in batches. Transfer to slow cooker.

2. Drain fat from skillet; heat remaining oil over medium-heat. Fry onions and two-thirds of the garlic until golden, about 4 minutes. Add wine; cook for 1 minute, stirring and scraping up brown bits. Scrape into slow cooker.

3. Add tomatoes, paprika, marjoram, and remaining salt to slow cooker, breaking up tomatoes with spoon. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.

4. Meanwhile, crumble saffron into bowl; pour in 2 tbsp hot water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir almonds, remaining garlic and lemon juice into bowl; stir into slow cooker. Add olives, parsley, and tomato paste; cover and cook on high for 20 minutes or until thickened.

Makes 8 servings.

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