With only nine ingredients, plus salt and pepper, you can make this richly flavored Spanish garlic chicken dish. It’s called pollo al ajillo in Spanish which literally translates to chicken with garlic. That should give you an idea about how much garlic goes into the dish. If you’re going to be shy about using garlic, you won’t get the maximum flavor that makes pollo al ajillo so tasty.
Ten chicken drumettes (with a generous portion of the breast meat attached) went into my pollo aj ajillo because that was what I had. You can use drumsticks or thighs, or even a whole chicken chopped through the bone into serving pieces.
Pollo al Ajillo (Spanish Garlic Chicken)
- 10 large chicken pieces (thighs, drumsticks, drumettes or a combination of different cuts)
- 1 whole head garlic
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme (or about 3 sprigs fresh thyme)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup sweet white wine
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- snipped parsley to garnish
Pat the chicken dry with paper towels and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of pepper. Mix well working the salt and pepper into the meat. Cover the bowl and set aside.
Peel the garlic and thinly slice each clove.
Add the flour to the chicken, cover the bowl and shake well to coat each piece of chicken lightly with flour.
Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow pan. Brown the chicken pieces, turning them around in the oil for even coloring. You are not cooking the chicken through at this point but merely searing them. Once lightly browned, scoop out and set aside.
Pour off the oil leaving only about two tablespoonfuls. Reheat the oil and saute the garlic, thyme and bay leaves until the garlic slices start to brown.
Pour in the wine. Stir and scrape off any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan. Allow to boil, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to half.
Pour in the chicken broth.
Arrange the browned chicken in the pan in a single layer. Cover the pan, lower the heat and braise the chicken for about 20 minutes. During this time, the flour coating the chicken will thicken the sauce as it reduces.
Drizzle the lemon juice over the chicken and shake the pan gently to blend. Taste the sauce, add more salt and pepper, if needed. Cover the pan once more and simmer for another five minutes.
Discard the bay leaves. Arrange the chicken pieces on a platter or in a shallow bowl. Pour the sauce (with all the garlic) over and around them. Sprinkle with snipped parsley.
Serve the pollo aj ajillo with rice or crusty bread.