Pollo al Ajillo & Patatas Pobres

Reader, I survived peeling 5lb of potatoes at a time as a child and lived to love cooking.

One of my all time favourite cookery books is Penelope Casas’ The Foods and Wines of Spain which, unlike a lot of other titles in the Penguin Cookery Library range, has not been reissued. There ain’t no sense in it.

Often simple cooking is the best. Yesterday I cooked two of the simplest of simple recipes for a fantastic meal.

Pollo al Ajillo (Chicken with Garlic)

Whole Chicken

Coarse Salt

2 Heads Garlic chopped


Olive Oil

Cut a chicken into very small joints leaving in the bone. So, for example, cut a thigh into three pieces.

Sprinkle with coarse salt (Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt just won Gold for exports at the True Taste Wales awards), sautée them in olive oil until lightly golden.

Add three quarters of the garlic. Flambée with the brandy.

Simmer gently until cooked (20 mins)

This I did in the base of a tagine direct on a low gas. I’ve been cooking more and more in pottery.

Patatas Pobres (Poor Man’s Potatoes

There are more complicated versions of this, e.g. Moro, but this is simple and the best.

Enough Spuds (I haven’t bothered to peel a potato since the first sentence)

1 Head of Garlic chopped

Coarse Salt (more Halen Môn)

Lots of Parsley chopped

Thinly slice the potatoes (I’ve discovered the mandolin in my old age – fantastic weapon and cheap).

Gently heat the oil in a wide frying pan. Add the potatoes and salt. Cook gently turning occasionally. Start with the lid on, then remove and get rid of the moisture.

When the spuds are just cooked turn up the heat a little. Turn occasionally so that you end up with some browned potatoes and some not. Sprinkle with the garlic and parsley. Serve immediately.

All this needs is a green salad (and wine – but I thought this went without saying).


2 thoughts on “Pollo al Ajillo & Patatas Pobres

  1. I do indeed.

    A mandolin is one of the few kitchen gadgets that I find incredibly useful and time saving – now that my finger’s grown back.


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