Recently while browsing through my cookbooks, I chanced upon a chicken recipe which had all the ingredients for a smash hit dish. Always on the lookout for interesting recipes, I just knew my chilly sunday afternoon would be enjoyed cooking this recipe.
The dish is called Frango na Pucara, which roughly translates to Chicken in a Pot. It's simplicity, use of easily available ingredients and easy recipe makes it a truly global dish. The taste has a universal appeal and I loved every minute of preparing this one. Checking the web, I found a dozen recipes for it, each with some difference in ingredient than the next. Some added brandy, some grappa, some neither. Some called for the oven, some cooked it on flame altogether. Some made it dry, some with too watery a gravy (almost stew like). I decided to go with the flow and come up with my version of the same. One quick visit to the local grocery store and I was done with my list of requirements to get me going for this one.
Frango Na Pucara - My Version
Makes 4 Portions
Chicken, cut into 8 pieces (or if you want more, go ahead) - 1
For the chicken coating
All-purpose Flour - 1 Cup
Paprika - 1 Tblsp
Thyme - 1 Tblsp
Salt - 1.5 Tsp
Black Pepper, freshly ground - 1/2 Tsp
For the gravy
Prosciutto -120 gms
Pearl Onions, peeled and blanched - 12
Red Bell Pepper, roasted, peeled and cut into thick strips - 1
Garlic cloves - 6
Tomatoes, diced - 3
Bay Leaves - 3
Parsley sprigs - 4
Dry white wine - 1/2 Cup
Tawny Port - 1/2 Cup
Tomato Paste - 1 Tblsp
Dijon Mustard - 1 Tblsp
Paprika - 1/4 Tsp
Salt - To Taste
Extra-virgin olive oil - 2 Tblsp
Method:1 . Sift together the ingredients for the flour coating in a large bowl.
2. Add the chicken pieces to this flour mixture, 1 at a time. Coat evenly on all sides.
3. Heat oil in skillet or a pan (medium flame). Add the chicken pieces to the skillet and saute till brown (4 minutes each side). Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and keep aside. Reserve the skillet with all the juices.
4. In a large ovenproof crockpot, arrange the chicken pieces in a single layer. Top them with diced tomatoes, prosciutto, pearl onions, red bell pepper, garlic, parsley and bay leaves. Sprinkle paprika on top.
5. Put the reserved skillet back on the flame. Add in the port wine and white wine. Bring to a boil while scraping the sides and bottom for the browned bits.
6. Remove the skillet from the flame. Add in the tomato paste and mustard. Mix well.
7. Pour this over the chicken. Put the crockpot on flame and bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning.
8. Transfer the crockpot to the oven and braise at 350 degrees F for an an hour to an hour and a half.
9. Remove chicken and discard the bay leaves. Pour in a serving dish and serve hot with rice (if you made one with lots of gravy) or with bread (dry with enough coating consistency).