I first met Anya Von Bremzen just after her cookbook The New Spanish Table was published. She was on a book tour with a stopover at COPIA in Napa. She had spent years living in Spain and was fascinated with Ferran Adria and the new molecular gastronomy going on at El Bulli as well as the interface it created with traditional Spanish cooking.
Her book, by her own description, is as much armchair travelogue as cookbook. She is a great storyteller and while her recipes work, they are not obsessively detailed.
Anya was born in Soviet Russia. She and her mother emigrated to the US seeking asylum in 1974. In 1990 she wrote a cookbook, Please to the Table , which was published by Workman. The book won a James Beard Award and she subsequently became a food and travel writer for Food and Wine Magazine, Saveur and Travel + Leisure. She has since written five cookbooks and won three James Beard Awards. She has recently written a memoir and cookbook “Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing” that has received critical acclaim.
At the time of her New Spanish Table book tour, we celebrated Spanish Food for a month at COPIA. For the Taste of COPIA lunch we cooked Andalusian Chicken with Green Olives twice a week for a month and never got tired of it. The recipe calls for pitted green olives but I used McEvoy Ranch Citrus Olives and left the pits in. The olives are large and very delicious warm in this dish. You can pit them if you wish, but it isn’t necessary.
Andalusian Chicken with Green Olives and Bitter Oranges
4 medium size chicken legs (about 2-½ # total), separated into drumsticks and thighs *I used all thighs
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons McEvoy Ranch Traditional Blend Olive Oil
1 large white onion, quartered and thinly sliced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cu medium-dry sherry
½ cup strained fresh bitter orange juice *If you can’t find Seville oranges, use lemon juice
¼ cup strained regular orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
2 ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped *I used canned, diced tomatoes
¾ cup pitted green olives *I used McEvoy Ranch Citrus Olives
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
2 medium size tart juice oranges
2 tablespoons slivered fresh mint
• Rub the chicken with salt and pepper and let stand 10 minutes.
• Place 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy, shallow flameproof casserole or saute pan that can hold the chicken in a single layer and heat over medium-high heat. Working in two batches, brown the chicken all over, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer the browned chicken to a bowl.
• Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil to the casserole and reduce the heat to medium-low. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is limp but not browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cumin and stir for 30 seconds. Add the sherry, increase the heat to high, and cook until the sherry is slightly reduced, about 1 minute. Add the bitter and regular orange juices and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the casserole, cover it, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes.
• Add he orange zest, tomatoes, olives and parsley to the casserole. Continue to cook the chicken over low heat, covered, turning it once or twice, until very tender, about 25 minutes.
• Meanwhile, peel the oranges with a small sharp knife, removing all the white pith. Working over a sieve set over a bowl, cut in between the membranes to release the orange sections. Carefully stir the orange sections into the stew and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes.
• Transfer the chicken to a serving bowl, spoon the pan juices and olives over it, sprinkle the mint on top and serve.
Rice would be great with this dish but I chose roasted potatoes to soak up the yummy sauce – your choice. I do strongly recommend a glass of 2017 McEvoy Ranch Rosebud Rosé as the perfect beverage to enjoy with your Andalusian chicken!
Chicken Browning in Pan Photo
Onions Browning in Pan Photo
Peeled Orange Photo