Not a fan of garlic? Then Spanish Garlic Chicken (Pollo Al Ajillo) might just change your mind. The sweetness of the garlic, combined with the herbs — expect a punch of flavor in every bite of this traditional Spanish dish! Yum!
One of those Spanish tapas that you can ultimately serve as the main dish — so no worries, you can have more than a serving as an appetizer.
Always make sure you have some bread when serving this chicken dish, though, and if you want to do what the locals do, you should pick those bits of garlic and place them on top of your bread.
Oh! Don’t forget your glass of wine! 🙂
WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE POLLO AL AJILLO
WHAT CAN I SUBSTITUTE FOR SHERRY?
You can use red wine, white wine, or Madeira. Any of these will turn out great.
However, if you are looking at buying some sherry to try out for this garlic chicken recipe, look for Manzanilla sherry. Some sherries are extremely sweet, and they will not go well with this dish.
WOULD IT MAKE A DIFFERENCE IF I ONLY USE BONELESS CHICKEN BREASTS?
You need to keep the bones in the chicken to get the maximum flavor in every bite. It just does not taste the same when you use boneless cuts.
You can go ahead and try it if you want to find out.
HOW TO MAKE GARLIC CHICKEN – Step by Step
Start by seasoning the chicken with salt and pepper (photo 1).
Using a medium to a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
Once the oil is ready, start browning the chicken in batches. Do not place them too close to each other (photo 2).
Add all the browned chicken into the skillet and add garlic, salt, ground black pepper, dried rosemary, dried thyme, and bay leaves. Mix to combine (photo 3).
Lower the heat to medium, cover the skillet with a lid, and let cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Mix occasionally to prevent the chicken from sticking.
Remove the cover and turn the heat back to medium-high. Pour the sherry. Leave it for 2 to 3 minutes, uncovered, and then mix (photo 4).
Keep it uncovered while cooking for about 10 minutes, until the sherry has completely evaporated. Continue mixing the chicken during this time.
Take the skillet off the heat and garnish with fresh parsley (if desired). Serve.
TOP TIPS FOR MAKING THIS EASY GARLIC CHICKEN RECIPE
- Chop the chicken in smaller portions. It makes it easier to cook — both in cooking time and in mixing them.
- Smash the garlic, do not slice them finely. The aim is to have noticeable bits and pieces of garlic flavored by the herbs and sherry.
- Feel free to replace the dried herbs with fresh ones, if you have them on hand, or if that’s how you prefer them.
- If you have time left, you can place the skillet in your oven (using your typical broiler setting) and leave it there for no more than 10 minutes. You will get a more golden, darker color to the chicken.
FOR MORE EASY CHICKEN RECIPES, CHECK OUT MY OTHER POSTS –
PERHAPS YOU WANT MORE SPANISH RECIPES? THEN YOU WOULD LOVE 10+ Easy Spanish Recipes For You To Try
OR IF YOU WANT TO GET MORE IDEAS FOR MAIN DISHES, THEN HEAD OUT DIRECTLY TO MY MAIN DISH COLLECTIONS!
Spanish Garlic Chicken (Pollo Al Ajillo)
- 3/4 to 1 kg chicken, chopped
- 10 to 12 cloves garlic, smashed
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 2 to 3 pcs dried bay leaves
- 1/3 cup sherry (or any of the substitutes mentioned)
- salt and pepper, to season
- parsley, to garnish (optional)
- Season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper.
- Set a medium to large skillet on medium-high heat and add olive oil.
- Once the oil is ready, start browning the chicken. Do not place the chicken pieces too close to each other.
- Once all the chicken is browned, put everything back in the skillet and add garlic, salt, and pepper, dried thyme, dried rosemary, and bay leaves.
- Mix everything to combine. Put a lid on the skillet, adjust the heat to medium and cook for 15 to 20 minutes while mixing occasionally.
- Remove the lid and adjust the heat back to medium-high. Pour the sherry on the chicken and do not touch for about 3 minutes.
- Start mixing, and if bits are sticking in the bottom of the pan, the sherry should have deglazed them so that everything would be combined.
- Continue cooking uncovered (mixing occasionally) until the sherry has completely evaporated. It usually takes about 10 minutes.
- Take the skillet off the heat, garnish with some fresh parsley (if preferred), and serve.
- You can use Madeira, white or red wine as a substitute for sherry.
- Chop the chicken into smaller bits, but keep the bones in there. Boneless chicken is not great with this dish.
- Fresh herbs are great if you have them, but the dried ones are an excellent option.
- Smash the garlic, do not chop them finely. Try picking up pieces of them later when they've been flavored by sherry and herbs. Delicious!
- If you want a deeper color to the chicken, place the skillet in the oven (set in your usual broiler temperature) for about 10 minutes. Do not keep it longer; you might end up drying the chicken.