13th c Andalusian garlic chicken recipe.
Take a plump hen and take out what is inside it, clean that and leave aside. Then take four ûqiyas of peeled garlic and pound them until they are like brains, and mix with what comes out of the interior of the chicken. Fry it in enough oil to cover, until the smell of garlic comes out. Mix this with the chicken in a clean pot with salt, pepper, cinnamon, lavender, ginger, cloves, saffron, peeled whole almonds, both pounded and whole, and a little murri naqî’. Seal the pot with dough, place it in the oven and leave it until it is done. Then take it out and open the pot, pour its contents in a clean dish and an aromatic scent will come forth from it and perfume the area. This chicken was made for the Sayyid Abu al-Hasan and much appreciated. – An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, translated by Charles Perry
As this dish was to be served to people that were not seated I made it with boneless chicken breasts and thighs that were cut into bite sized pieces.
As I did not have the giblets from a whole chicken to work with I purchased chicken liver and gizzard as a substitute. I also substituted soy sauce for the murri naqi.
Four ûqiyas of garlic equates to about 4 ounces. This is roughly 40 cloves. Rather than pounding 40 cloves of garlic I used a food processor and pureed them I then added the chicken liver and the meat from the gizzards and pureed it again. This makes a fairly thick paste. I put the meat and garlic paste into a frying pan and covered it with halve olive oil half cold pressed sesame oil. I cooked this over medium heat stirring to mix and keep from sticking. once the meat was cooked and the overwelming garlic smell was gone it made a nice sauce. I took it off the heat and added ground spices, ground almonds, whole almonds and soy sauce. The spices included cinnamon, lavender buds, ginger, clove and saffron steeped in water.
Once these ingredients were added to the sauce I mixed in the chucks of chicken and placed it all in a dutch oven. I placed the lid on the dutch oven and sealed it with a flour, salt and water dough. This was placed in the oven and cooked at 350 degrees for about an hour. It was left sealed until time to serve to keep in the aroma and heat.
It was a lovely chicken dish with a thick sauce. If I were serving it to dinner guests it would pair well with rice.
An Anonymous Andalusian Cookbook of the 13th Century, translated by Charles Perry