Picada chicken with slow cooked leeks & couscous recipe image

Print Picada chicken with slow cooked leeks & couscous

A picada is a Catalan method of thickening a sauce by adding a paste of nuts, eggs, pulses or bread at the end of cooking. In this case it is almonds and egg yolks. It sounds odd, but this is a Spanish classic. It brings an extra level of flavour and texture to the dish.

Ingredients

  • 1 stock cube
  • 2 onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 leeks
  • 2 chicken thighs & 2 chicken drumsticks
  • 2 tbsp plain flour
  • Olive oil
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 150ml white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g couscous
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 1 lemon
  • 30g parsley
  • Salt & pepper

Method

  1. Boil a kettle. Crumble and whisk the stock cube into 600ml of boiled water. Peel and finely slice the onions. Peel and finely chop 2 of the garlic cloves. Trim the leeks, slice them in into 1cm rounds and wash them well.
  2. Season the chicken well with salt and pepper. Lightly coat them with flour, shaking away any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in the saucepan or casserole. Fry the chicken until lightly browned all over. Put the chicken to one side.
  3. Discard the oil and quickly scrape the pan clean. Heat another tablespoon of oil in the pan. Throw in the sliced onions. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until they just start to soften and colour. Add the sliced leeks, garlic and saffron. Cook briefly for about 2 minutes before tipping in the white wine.
  4. Bring to the boil and reduce by ⅓. Add the chicken, stock, pinch of salt and pepper and the bay leaf. Bring to a low simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 40 minutes or until the chicken starts to pull away from the bone.
  5. While the chicken cooks, put the 2 eggs in a pan of cold water. Bring to the boil. When boiling cook for 7 mins. Remove and cool the eggs immediately under cold running water. Peel the eggs, halve them and separate the yolks from the whites.
  6. While the eggs cook, boil the kettle. Put the couscous in a heatproof bowl or saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir it through the grains thoroughly. Pour over just enough boiling water to cover the couscous. Cover with cling film and leave to stand.
  7. To make the picada, peel and finely chop or crush 1 garlic clove. Mix the garlic, ground almonds and egg yolks together with 3 tbsp of liquid from the pan until they make a stiff paste. You can use a fork or pound them in a pestle and mortar, if you have one. Wash the parsley, shake it dry, remove the leaves and chop them finely. Fluff the couscous up with a fork. Finely grate in the zest from half the lemon. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. When the chicken is cooked, stir the picada into the liquid and simmer gently for 5 more minutes to thicken the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice to your taste. Serve the chicken with the couscous, scattered with the chopped parsley to garnish.

Cooks notes

If you don’t want to waste the cooked egg whites you can consider chopping them finely and mixing them with the parsley as a garnish. This can make the dish a little too eggy for some people so the choice is yours.
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