Fresh-Pressed Olive Oil Club

Braised Chicken with Salmorejo Sauce

Braised Chicken with Salmorejo Sauce

Chef Katie Button, who trained with Spanish celebrity chef Ferran Adrià at his internationally acclaimed restaurant elBulli, later opened Cúrate Bar de Tapas in my hometown of Asheville, North Carolina. This original recipe featured rabbit, which is more popular in Spain than it is in the US. We like it made with chicken.


  • 1/4 cup kosher salt, plus more
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 10 whole black peppercorns
  • 7 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 pounds chicken leg quarters
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons pimentón (smoked Spanish paprika)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 dried New Mexican chile, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 cups white wine


Step 1

Make the brine: In a small saucepan, combine the 1/4 cup salt with the brown sugar, peppercorns, 2 garlic cloves, 2 bay leaves, and 1 cup of water and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the salt and sugar. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in 2 cups of cold water, and let the mixture cool. Pour the brine into a large resealable plastic bag, add the chicken pieces, and refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight.

Step 2

Heat the oven to 350°F. In a blender, blend the 5 remaining garlic cloves and bay leaf with the wine, vinegar, pimentón, cumin, chile, and 2 1/2 cups water until smooth. Drain the chicken pieces, pat dry with paper towels, and discard the brine.

Step 3

In an 8-quart saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper, add to the pan, and cook, turning once, until browned all over, about 8 minutes. Pour in the blended wine and spices and bring to a boil. Cover, place in the oven, and cook until the chicken is tender, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Transfer the pan to a rack, lift the chicken from the pan, and transfer it to a serving platter.

Step 4

Place the pan over high heat and boil the braising liquid until reduced to 3/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce over the chicken, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and serve while hot.

Serves 4 — Recipe adapted from Saveur, February 2016