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Pollo a la Vasca

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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 May 2011 at 15:19
Pollo a la Vasca
(Chicken Basque-Style)

Recipe shared by "Rivet," along with this:

Quote Pollo a la Vasca

Quote I do not know of any other place in the world where cooking is as revered as an art, as dominant in the national consciousness, as it is in the Spanish Basque Country. Not even across the border, on the French side, can this collective culinary fanaticism be found. It is one of the most important and distinctive traits of our culture. For Basques, food is a major topic of conversation- with the taxi driver, the fellow bus passengers, with friends lying on the beach. Listen to a conversation between Basques, and most likely you will hear what they had for dinner the previous night, what they will have for lunch that same day, or where you can get this or other unusual ingredient. We Basques live happily for our next meal!
 
-Teresa Barrenechea, from her book, The Basque Table

 
This dish is based on an old, extremely old, Basque recipe for chicken that includes good amounts of "jamon" (Spanish cured ham) and sausage, most usually chorizo. It is known as "Pollo Vasco" (Basque Chicken) in that region of Spain. This version of the dish, popularly known as Basque Style, leaves out the ham and sausages, concentrating instead on the clean, clear taste the vegetables and "pimenton" (Spanish smoked paprika) that will eliminate the overwhelming meatiniess of the sausage and ham.
 
The Basques were making this ubiquitous dish, and variants, for hundreds of years prior to the introduction of chili peppers. Although versions are just as ancient as the orginal recipe, this particular one must be more recent, since we know that chile peppers were not brought back into Spain until Columbus returned from his discovery of the New World in 1493. When Columbus returned to Spain, one of the first things he did was go back to his home, the Extremadura region, and light a candle in a monastery giving thanks to the Virgin Of Guadalupe, his patron. During this visit to the Monastery of Yuste, he gave to the monks seeds and peppers of the capsicum "anuum L." pimento he'd brought back. They successfully cultivated the pimento, learned to roast and smoke it then crush it into powder for a superb condiment. Word spread quickly, and in 1555, Spanish King, Carlos V (Charles the fifth) suffering from gout, came to the monastery to partake of the famous spices in order to ease his ailment. It helped some, nevertheless he died there in 1558; but by then word had spread throughout the kingdom of this new powder. Thus, we know that this recipe for Pollo A La Vasca, is modern in the sense that it dates from roughly 1555. That makes it probably over 450 years old ~ certainly a nice historical dish to enjoy!
 
There are several types of "pimenton", the finely ground smoked powder, and it is unfortunate that the Spanish word sometimes translates into "hot". This brings images of searing heat on the tongue, but nothing could be further from the truth. Spanish and Basque cuisine never assaults. It seduces. This dish is a perfect example of traditional Basque cooking. As an end, a nice one, I'll share some quotes discovered during my culinary research:
 
"The Basques are courteous and agreeable and have a trustworthy bearing. Their houses and their clothes are clean and their customs make their land a pleasant place."

Freidrich Heinrich Alexander Humboldt (Baron Humboldt), German geographer and diplomat (1769-1859) From:DIARY OF A JOURNEY THROUGH SPAIN

"The Basques are a 'cosmic' race that can be found in every continent and on every sea, giving an example of diligence, integrity and modesty."

José Vasconcelos, Mexican writer and philosopher (1881-1959)

"The Basque language is the despair of scholars and the most mysterious of all known languages."

Aldous Huxley, English novelist and essayist (1894-1963)

"Arguing with a Basque is like wrestling with a pig! Both of you get filthy, stinky, dirty, but the pig loves it." 

Hunter S. Thompson, American Journalist and essayist (1943-2005)

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken
4 TBSP Sweet Spanish Paprika (smoked)
1 TBSP Ground Coriander
1 TBSP Ground Black Pepper
1 Bunch Parsley
2 TBSP Tarragon
2 or 3 Sprigs of Rosemary
10 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 Red Onion, sliced into wedges
1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced
2 or 3 Plum Tomatoes (1 cup) quartered
1 Cup Sturdy White Wine, such as Chardonnay
Salt to taste
1 Lemon for garnish along with remainder of parsley (chopped)

We normally think of rubs in the barbecue sense....much more modern in that we spice up our meat differently. No further from the truth. Peoples have been rubbing their meat with spices and concoctions since before written history. For this rub, mix 4 heaping TBSP of sweet pimenton, 1 TBSP of ground coriander and 1 TBSP ground black pepper. Once mixed, rub the chicken well all over with it. Slit the skin between it and the meat on the neck and tail ends, and spoon some of the mixture in there too, and massage in.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Stuff the bird with about 1/3 bunch washed parsley, 2 TBSP Tarragon, 2 or 3 sprigs rosemary, and in the neck opening, a couple garlic cloves and a wedge of onion. Secure the drums, and arrange the bell pepper, onion, garlic cloves and tomato on and around the bird in a covered crock, dutch oven, roasting pan or Spanish "cazuela." Pour in 1 cup of white wine and sprinkle with salt to taste. Cover the bird and put it in the oven and for one hour.
 
After one hour, check the bird and baste it well with the juices. When the juices in the thigh run clear after being pierced with a fork, put it remove the cover and set the oven to BROIL. After a couple of minutes, baste again, then after a few more, baste yet again. The exterior skin will crisp nicely and it will be ready. Serve with lemon for garnish and squeezing additional flavour onto your meal; This dish is great accompanied with oven-roasted potatoes or rice and freshly-baked bread.
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TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 November 2017 at 10:01
I came across this one in the files, and I really think I need to try it. I'm thinking that it would be another dish, along with several we've recently discussed, that would be perfect cooked in earthenware.

If/when I make this, I will include the chorizo and some form of ham (most likely prosciutto, which makes a good substitute for jamon, which is unavailable here). I'm thinking that the addition of these meats will add to the experience.

I'll get it on the list, and report on results ~
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Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2017 at 03:07
Sounds like a delicious  regional Basque and Spanish chicken dish ..  

In  Bilbao,  pollo a la Bilbaina is prepared with red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice freshly squeezed,  Evoo, salt, black pepper, White wine  Txacoli ( a sparkling cider )  and chicken. 


Another versión is:  Pollo Riojano, though not exactly in the  Basque 4 autonomous communities, it houses an enormous  Basque population.   The ingredients are:

Chicken,  choiceros fresh red peppers,  tomatoes, 1 guindilla ( dry tiny chili pepper / cayenne), White wine, flour,  garlic, onion and Evoo of La  Rioja ..   

One of these days i shall post these ..  

Capon is the preferred bird of the  Basque and  Galician population.  They are marinated in Jerez  Brandy and stuffed and roasted .. 

They are prepared with:

with apples &  dried fruits in the interior and  are quite renowned in  Bilbao ..   

So many récipes and just weekends to prepare these grand dishes ..

Definitely shall  prepare one of these .. 
www.guidepost.es
Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 November 2017 at 08:39
Those all sound great, Margi; the Pollo a la Bilbaia, especially.
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