An Asturian dish that respects the real taste of chicken. Slowly braised, the chicken juices are then employed to make a rich Spanish rice served alongside the tender meat.
In Asturian, pitu de caleya or ‘road chicken’ is a chicken bred in large open spaces and left on its own will to feed itself. This more natural diet leads to a slower development, which reflects on its physiological structure. Compared to modern poultry farming, these birds possess denser bones and a darker and leaner meat.
These tougher meats need longer cooking times at low heat, so braising is ideal. Our recipe is based on a version from Casa Marcial, a Michelin starred restaurant near Cangas that has brought this traditional dish back to the spotlight it deserves.
Pitu de Caleya con ArrozCourse: MainCuisine: SpanishDifficulty: Easy
slow-grown chicken (more than from 3.5 to 4.5 kg, around 80 days old)
6 medium onions
1 green pepper
250ml of dry sherry
50ml of brandy
1 head of garlic, with all cloves thinly sliced
200g paella rice
500ml chicken broth
vegetable sauce from stewing pitu
a few strands of saffron
- Joint the chicken. We prefer to only use the wings, legs and thighs when braising. Reserve the breasts for another meal and save the carcass to make stock.
- On a tray or in a Ziploc bag, sprinkle the meat with salt, add the sliced garlic and drizzle with abundant olive oil. Mix well, making sure all of the surface of the chicken is covered. Marinate for 6 hours in the fridge.
- Discard all the slices of garlic.
- Take a large saucepan, add a generous amount of olive oil and sear the chicken until golden brown (preferably in batches to ensure the chicken is evenly brown). Once it’s done, set aside.
- Meanwhile, cut the onions and green peppers into large cubes.
- Increase the heat to high, add the onions and sauté for a couple of minutes.
- Add the pepper and sauté all the vegetables until the onions are very soft.
- Pour in the sherry and brandy and let the alcohol evaporate. This should deglaze the pan.
- Reduce the heat to low, return the chicken, add water (50% of the chicken should be always submerged) and cover the saucepan. Let it simmer for at least 3 hours.
- Once the chicken is fragrant and tender, transfer it to a ceramic dish and place it in a preheated oven to 50C.
- Blend the remaining contents of the saucepan and strain all the remaining fibrous pieces with a fine sieve.
- Reserve around 100ml of this sauce for serving. The rest will be used to cook the rice.
- Take a saucepan, drizzle some olive oil and set to high heat.
- Add the paella rice and fry for a few minutes.
- Pour in the chicken broth, the blended vegetable sauce and the strands of saffron.
- Reduce the heat to minimum and simmer until the rice reaches its correct texture (it should take about 15 to 20mins).
- Split the rice into 4 plates (you can use a cookie cutter to make it cook neater), place the chicken on the top and pour over some sauce. Garnish with fresh thyme.