I went to Tenerife at Christmas with my family, which is where I first heard of conejo (rabbit) al salmorejo, a traditional Canarian dish. To be honest, I never had it there. We rented self-catering apartments and didn’t eat out much, in part because of my dietary restrictions, but if I’d had the opportunity to try this dish in a restaurant, I would have, as it’s normally gluten-free. Also, I would have loved to have tried rabbit. Sadly, it didn’t happen, so I decided I’d have to try to make it on my own.
Unfortunately, it’s not all that easy to find rabbit in England, so since I heard rabbit tastes like chicken, I decided to make it with chicken instead. Apparently I’m not the only one who’s ever had this thought, as pollo al salmorejo is an easy enough recipe to find on the interwebs. However, all the recipes I found, both for rabbit and chicken, varied considerably. I’ve tried it a few different ways and have found it’s definitely a recipe you can modify to fit your own tastes. However, this is the version I like best.
I always serve this chicken with the Canarian staple of papas arrugadas with mojo, as well as with a nice green salad. It makes a gorgeous meal and has become a real family favourite. The hot paprika adds a nice flavour but it isn’t too hot for the kids. The meal does involve a little advance planning, as the chicken has to be marinated overnight, and the potatoes take a little time, but it’s not a lot of hands-on time so it’s doable on a weeknight.
I took the pictures on an occasion when I made a smaller quantity than I’m calling for in the recipe but now I usually make the quantity stated because this meal makes for tasty leftovers.
Pollo al salmorejo (Chicken in spicy wine marinade)
- 700-800 g chicken thighs and/or drumsticks (about six pieces)
- 3/4 cup white wine
- 3 tablespoons balsamic or wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil, plus a little extra to drizzle at the last minute
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon hot paprika (pimentón picante)
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- Salt to taste
- A little olive oil for cooking
In a bowl, whisk together the white wine, vinegar, 1 tablespoon garlic-infused olive oil, hot paprika, oregano, thyme, cumin, and salt.
- If necessary, trim chicken thighs of excess skin and fat but don’t remove all the skin. (The drumsticks don’t need trimming.) For each piece, prick the skin a few times so the marinade will penetrate well.
- Add the bay leaves to the marinade and marinate the chicken for up to 24 hours, the longer the better. Turn the chicken a few times so all sides are equally well marinated. I took the picture below with the chicken in a glass bowl but although it’s less photogenic, I’ve lately taken to marinating in a ziploc bag, because if you remove most of the air, you can achieve better coverage of the chicken with less liquid. If you do this, do still flip the bag a few times.
- Put a little olive oil in a frying pan and remove the chicken from the marinade. Fry on stovetop, covering with lid, until chicken is well-browned on the outside and thoroughly cooked on the inside. Set aside.
- If necessary, scrape out blackened bits but don’t wash the pan. Pour in the marinade and cook the marinade until it reduces and thickens into a sauce. My husband likes this dish best with very little highly concentrated sauce while I prefer it a little saucier. Either way, it’s tasty. When you’ve gotten the sauce to your desired consistency, turn the pan down to medium-low. Return the chicken to the pan for long enough to get it hot again. Photo below shows the not-so-saucy version.
- Serve with papas arrugadas and enjoy!