Pollo al Ajillo: Spanish Garlic Chicken

Spanish Garlic Chicken - Pollo al Ajillo (c)
Spanish Garlic Chicken - Pollo al Ajillo. (c) 2011 Lisa Sierra Licensed to About.com Inc.
  • 55 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins,
  • Cook: 35 mins
  • Yield: 6 Servings
Ratings (10)

Garlic Chicken, or "Pollo al Ajillo," is a classic Spanish recipe; although it hails from the Andalusian region, it is enjoyed all over Spain. This version is cooked on the stove, however, rather than roasted in the oven.

This recipe calls for buying a whole chicken and cutting up yourself, but you can always purchase an already cut-up chicken for ease and to save time. Marinating the chicken for an hour or two before browning it assures a moist result.

As the name suggests, garlic is a main player in this recipe--it is combined with white wine to make the base for the sauce, but, like all popular classic recipes, every family has their own version. Some cooks may include a hot pepper, paprika and vinegar--as this recipe does--to add a bit of spice as well as a tangy bite.

What You'll Need

  • 2 1/2 lbs. whole chicken
  • 1 lemon
  • 6 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups  extra virgin olive oil, divided in half
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 lbs. potatoes (about 4 medium potatoes)
  • Optional: 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 sprigs of flat leaf parsley
  • Optional: 1 small hot pepper
  • 1 tsp. Spanish sweet paprika
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

How to Make It

  1. Cut chicken into 10 to 12 pieces. Rinse and pat dry. Place chicken in a large glass dish. Squeeze lemon juice over the chicken.
  2. Peel 2 garlic cloves and chop finely. Rub garlic, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper into chicken. Allow to marinate for 1 to 2 hours.
  3. Pour 3/4 cup of the oil into a large heavy bottom frying pan and heat over medium heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade and drain well. Brown the chicken in the oil on both sides. Remove it from frying pan and place in a Dutch oven or covered deep frying pan. Add the white wine and bay leaf. Cover and simmer on low until the wine is reduced.
  1. While chicken simmers, peel and cut potatoes into thin round slices or small cubes. Heat remaining 3/4 cup oil in a small frying pan on medium high and fry potatoes. Remove potatoes and add to chicken. If more sauce is desired, add the cup of broth now. Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer covered.
  2. Finely chop parsley and sprinkle over chicken.
  3. Peel the other 4 cloves of garlic and thinly slice. In the same pan used to brown the chicken, lightly sauté the garlic, and add the hot pepper, if using. Add Spanish paprika, vinegar and sugar. Stir, scraping the bottom of the pan. Pour over chicken. Adjust seasoning and serve.