Monday, November 24, 2014


I started making chicken with cotognata [quince paste] some years ago and this autumn, I decided the dish needed an update.  After some thought, I came up with the idea of adding chocolate but not any old chocolate, you understand, for if there is one thing I have learnt since being in Modica it is that if you are going to add chocolate to a savoury dish it will only work if you use chocolate made to the Aztec method [no dairy fats] - Modican chocolate! You can either use pure chocolate or, for the kick I wanted, chilli-pepper-flavoured Modican chocolate.  Here's what I did:

Chicken with cotognata and Modican chocolate

To serve four people generously, you need one skinned and boned chicken breast if you are in Italy, where the two halves of the breast are sold as one or two breasts if you are in the UK, where each half is sold as one breast. Ask the butcher to cut the breast [s] into 8 pieces. You could add a couple of drumsticks, skin off, too, if you like. 

Marinate the chicken in 0.25 litre of white wine, adding some seasoning and a few fresh sage leaves, for about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, chop one square from a bar of chilli-flavoured Modican chocolate as finely as you can and cut one "cake" of quince paste - about 100 gr - into small cubes. [When I was in the UK, you used to be able to buy Spanish quince paste from delicatessens. This is not as thick as cotognata but would do, as it has to melt anyway.] 

When you are ready to cook the chicken, drain it, pat dry with kitchen paper and discard the marinade but keep a few of the sage leaves.  Slice a large white onion and soften this in 4 tablsp olive oil in a large, wide pan but do not brown it. When the onion is soft, add the chicken pieces with any sage leaves still clinging to them and brown them all over.  

Peel, core and slice 3 quinces or 4 pears and when the chicken is brown on all sides, add the fruit slices to the pan with the cotognata and chocolate.  Add 600 ml water, some more seasoning and a sprinkling of ground cloves.

Cover and cook over a low heat for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

You won't be able to taste the chocolate, which is as it should be, but the chilli will give this sweet and sour dish a kick! Serve with garlic-roasted potatoes with rosemary or with some lovely mashed potato to soak up the juices.

Buon appetito!


Lee said...

It sounds like an interesting blending, the quince and the chocolate.

Mexican cooking incorporates chocolate in some savoury dishes, too...the Aztec influence, no doubt.

James Higham said...

Is there no limit to your culinary invention?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Thanks, Lee. Yes, it was via the Spanish that the Aztec method reached here. Most Sicilians won't try choclate in savoury dishes, though!
Hello, James. I don't know!


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