Lorca and Andalusia Cadences

By Tim Hazell

Federico Garcia Lorca’s life (1898–1936) embraced the Spanish Civil War that ultimately devoured him. The poet and playwright embodied the spirit of his native Andalusia. Elements of folklore, combined with surrealism, placed him in a unique genre. Despite the somber aspect of his poetry, he was an ebullient, versatile writer and an accomplished musician.

Although Lorca traveled widely, he shared an affinity with Pablo Picasso, in that he remained the eternal son of Spain. Looming clouds of civil war are everywhere in the following “Lament for Ignacio Sanchez Mejia’s.”

 

The wind carried away the cottonwool

at five in the afternoon.

And the oxide scattered crystal and nickel

at five in the afternoon.

Now the dove and the leopard wrestle

at five in the afternoon.

 

Once censored by Franco’s regime, public outcry resulted in the reinstating of Lorca’s work as among the finest Spain has ever produced.

Spanish cooks revel in their cornucopia of ingredients: pork, ham, and sausage from the countryside; Atlantic anchovies, cod, and tuna; Mediterranean olives and garlic; and Moorish seasonings of saffron and almonds from the South. This Braised Chicken in Saffron from Spain’s Castilla-La Mancha region has rich flavor and a lush consistency!

 

Pollo en Pepitoria

Ingredients:

 

8 chicken thighs

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped fine

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 bay leaf

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup dry sherry

1 cup chicken broth

1 can tomatoes, drained and chopped fine

2 hard-cooked large eggs, peeled, yolks and whites separated

1/2 cup slivered blanched almonds, toasted

1 tsp. saffron threads, crumbled

2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

1 tsp. lemon juice

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300 F. Season thighs on both sides with 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Heat oil in medium skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add thighs and brown on both sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to large plate. Pour off all but 2 teaspoons fat from skillet. Return skillet to medium heat, add onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring frequently, until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic, bay leaf, and cinnamon and cook about one minute until fragrant. Add sherry and cook, scraping up any browned bits, until sherry starts to thicken, about 2 minutes. Stir in broth and tomatoes and bring to simmer. Return thighs to skillet, cover, transfer to oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes. While thighs cook, finely chop egg whites. Transfer thighs to serving platter and cover loosely with aluminum foil to keep warm. Discard bay leaf. Transfer 3/4 cup of the chicken cooking liquid, egg yolks, almonds, saffron, and remaining garlic to blender jar. Process until smooth, about 2 minutes. Return mixture to skillet. Add 1 tablespoon parsley and lemon juice; bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking frequently, until thickened, 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with the thighs and crusty bread.

 

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