When I first saw this recipe from Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi on Sunday Brunch, we had not long returned from a holiday in Venice and had worked our way through the Polpo cookbook (and a whole lot of Aperol and Campari Spritz’s) in an attempt to evoke memories of the holiday.
We were looking for a new taste of Venice and this dish was perfect. The almond milk and ground almonds give an almost korma texture to this delicately flavoured dish, whilst the dates add a lovely sweetness. We’ve now cooked it about three or four times and are equally delighted each time we try it. We usually serve with couscous with pomegranate seeds and toasted almond flakes. Most of the ingredients are staple cupboard ingredients so it’s quite an economical dish to cook.
Skill level: Easy – moderate
Equipment required: Frying pan
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 1 hour
Salt and pepper
2 chicken thighs
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
Small knob of ginger
1-2 garlic cloves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 knob salted butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cinnamon stick
200ml Almond milk
50g ground almonds
10 medjool dates, stoned and quartered
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
small bunch parsley, to serve (optional)
or small bunch coriander, to serve (optional)
handful toasted almonds
Step 1: Season the chicken and brown in a large frying pan in sunflower oil over a medium heat. Set aside when it is crispy and mid-golden colour. Discard the oil.
Step 2: Grate the ginger and crush the garlic cloves. In a large frying pan that has a lid, warm the olive oil and butter together over a medium heat. Fry the onion for around 5 minutes until soft and add the ginger and garlic purée, bay leaves, cinnamon and cloves.
Step 3: Transfer the chicken to the pan and stir through to coat the chicken in the spices. Pour over the almond milk and ground almonds, add the dates and scatter over the saffron strands. Once the milk has come to the boil, turn the heat down and cook for 50 minutes to 1 hour with the lid on, or until the meat is falling from the bone. Season to taste.
Step 3: Decorate the plate with torn parsley or coriander, if using, and the toasted almonds. Serve with rice, or couscous as you wish.