Celebrity Chef: Medieval Moorish Chicken, Pollo Moruna

Giving Thanks:  A Celebration of Traditional Food at Mission San Luis

Date: Friday, November 27th & Saturday, November 28th 2009.

(Friday & Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend.)

Time: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: 2100 West Tennessee Street, Tallahassee, FL  32304

Phone Number: 850-487-3711

The Friends of Mission San Luis invite the public to experience food traditions from the 17th century during Thanksgiving weekend at Mission San Luis. All cultures are grateful for a good harvest, and the Apalachee and Spanish residents of Mission San Luis were no exception.  Join us for a celebration of holiday feasting during Giving Thanks at Mission San Luis on the Friday, November 27th and Saturday, November 28th  from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Costumed interpreters bring the Mission’s unique culinary history to life, smoking meat and fish on the barbacoa, demonstrating the use of native and European plants from the Mission’s gardens and fields, and making preparations for the feast. Learn how people and foods from the New and Old Worlds came together to create a unique cuisine.

Medieval Moorish Chicken, Pollo Moruna

The combination of dried fruit and meat was wide-spread in the kitchens of well-off Moors in 13th, 14th and 15th al-Andalus – the Arab name for the part of the Iberian Peninsula that was conquered by the Moors. We confess that the addition of Spanish pimentón, made from red peppers which arrived from America in the 16th century, makes this a slightly modernized version of the 800 year old recipe. Serves 8


4.5 lbs – chicken cut into chunks (can use boneless, skinless breasts)
¼ C. - olive oil
Salt and Pepper
1 C. - slivered almonds
½ C. - olive oil
5 - Vidalia onions cut into thin slices
1 - small red chili pepper left whole
2 T. - Spanish Smokey Pimentón
1 T. - ground cinnamon
1 t. - ground black pepper
2 C. - water
1 - bay leaf
1 C. - raisins
2 - Tablespoons honey
2 - Tablespoons Balsamic vinegar

Modern Directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.

2. Wash and dry chicken. Season with salt and pepper.

3. In a large (stove & oven proof) casserole dish, heat on the stovetop ¼ C. olive oil until shimmering. Brown the chicken pieces in batches and set aside on a plate.

4. To the same large casserole dish, add the Spanish Pimentón, cinnamon and black pepper. Heat the spices on low heat, then add water and bay leaf.

5. Return chicken to the casserole dish, bring to simmer. Then place in the oven and bake covered for 60 minutes.

6. While chicken is baking, in a heavy bottomed frying pan heat ½ C. olive oil until shimmering. Add almonds and toast on low heat for 5 minutes until browned. Set almonds aside on a plate.

7. Add onions and the chili pepper to the same heavy bottomed frying pan. Sauté 20 minutes until onions have caramelized.

8. To the caramelized onions, add the almonds, raisins, honey, and vinegar. Discard the chili pepper.

9. Remove chicken from the oven. Stir in the onions, almonds, and raisins mixture.

Set combined dish aside to sit for at least 15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.

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