Recipe: Traditional Escabeche

Here is a most basic recipe for escabeche. As with all traditional recipes, there are innumerable variations (using apple cider, adding olives, capers, truffles, etc.) but this one seems to work quite well and is endearingly simple.

    • 1 whole chicken, in pieces
    • 1 cup of good olive oil
    • 1 cup of white wine
    • 1 cup of wine vinegar
    • 1 head of garlic, with the cloves peeled
    • 4 yellow onions, julienned
    • 8 bay leaves
    • 20 peppercorns
    • salt to taste

Clean and dry the chicken well. Fry the chicken pieces in the oil over a brisk flame until lightly browned, then lower the flame and pile all the pieces in a large pot with the oil, and cover with the onions, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves. Add wine and vinegar. Cover and allow to cook over low flame, stirring occasionally, for about an hour or until the meat is falling off the bone.

Uncover and allow the liquid to cook down a little. Cool and refrigerate. Escabeche is always best the day after cooking.

To read about the history of this Spanish cooking technique, click here.

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Maggie Schmitt is a freelance researcher and translator based in Madrid.  She is currently working on a book called The Gaza Kitchen with Laila El-Haddad. Learn more at gazakitchens.wordpress.com.

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