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Spanish Chicken With Garlic And Sherry

(Authentic Pollo al Ajillo recipe)

Written By: Byron | September 7, 2023
A pan of Spanish chicken with garlic and sherry.

Spanish Chicken With Garlic And Sherry (also known as Pollo Al Ajillo in Spain) is a classic bone-in chicken and garlic recipe that uses a few humble ingredients to create an oven-baked main meal that’s loaded with succulent chicken pieces, roasted garlic, and plenty of sweet sherry-infused sauce. 

Serve this recipe with lots of fresh bread or some steamed rice to soak up the delicious juices.

Chicken Recipes | Main Meal Recipe | Easy Recipe | One-Pot Recipe | Garlic and Rosemary Recipe | Healthy | Mediterranean Recipe | Made in Under 1 Hour 

Serving:

Main for 4

Ready in:

~40 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread or

steamed rice

A tray of chicken drumsticks next to some onions, garlic, and fresh rosemary.

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How to Make Spanish Chicken With Garlic and Sherry

Ingredients (serves 4)

  • 8-10 chicken drumsticks (Allow 2 per person)
  • 2 medium-sized onions, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 full head of garlic, peeled and top trimmed so each head of garlic is exposed
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil 
  • ¼ cup sherry (can be substituted with white wine)
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary)
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt (we use Pink Himalayan Salt)

Equipment needed

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C
  • Add around half the oil to a large pan or skillet on high heat. Add the chicken drumsticks, season with some salt and pepper and lightly brown on all slides. Around halfway through add the loosely chopped garlic. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside. This step should take around 5-6 minutes.
  • Add some oil, the chopped onion to the bottom of an oven-safe dish, then add the whole garlic head, then the browned drumsticks around the head of garlic. 
  • Drizzle over the remaining oil, making sure you add plenty around the head of the garlic. 
  • Sprinkle the remaining herbs and seasoning over the dish, then pour in the sherry or white wine.
  • Bake uncovered on the middle shelf at 400°F/200°C for 30 minutes or until your chicken is cooked through and browned to your liking. (Note: Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.)

 Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes, delicious main meals, and incredible Spanish dessert options too.

The history of Pollo Al Ajillo

Pollo al Ajillo, which translates to “Garlic Chicken” in English, is a classic Spanish dish known for its rich flavors and simplicity. 

The exact origins of Pollo al Ajillo are not well-documented, but it is believed to have its roots in the Andalusia region, in southern Spain. Andalusian cuisine is known for its use of garlic and olive oil, and these are two key ingredients in this dish. These are both pantry staples in Spanish kitchens everywhere now. 

Pollo al Ajillo has become popular not only in Spain but also in many Spanish-speaking countries and regions around the world. It has also influenced variations of garlic chicken dishes in other cuisines. The dish’s enduring popularity can be attributed to its delicious taste and ease of preparation, making it a favorite in both home kitchens and restaurants.

Authentic Ingredients For Pollo Al Ajillo

Chicken 

Typically, chicken pieces like thighs or drumsticks are used. You can use bone-in or boneless chicken, depending on your preference. Reduce cooking time slightly if you use boneless pieces. If you want some boneless chicken recipes try this Mediterranean chicken simmered in sofrito and spicy paprika or chicken with peaches and sherry recipe

Garlic 

As the name suggests, garlic is a central ingredient in this dish. You’ll need at least several cloves of garlic, which are usually minced or thinly sliced. We love to add a whole head of garlic in the middle for presentation and people can pick how many cloves they want on their plate once served. The garlic is also what provides the dish with its distinctive flavor.

Olive Oil 

Excellent quality extra virgin olive oil is used both for coating the chicken and for sautéing it in the pan. We’ve got plenty of great olive oil options available in our 15 of the Best Spanish Olive Oils to Try (2023) article and now we have our article live on the best olive oils in 2024, including where to buy them overseas. 

Paprika 

While we didn’t use paprika in this particular recipe, it’s common to find it in pollo al ajillo recipes. Sweet or smoked paprika is added to give the dish a rich, earthy flavor and a hint of smokiness. Feel free to add some if you like. We use it in nearly of our main meal recipes, including baked Mediterranean chicken thighs.

Sherry 

Dry sherry helps to deglaze the pan and create a flavorful sauce. It adds depth to the dish. Note that while some of the alcohol is evaporated while cooking, just cooking it for 30 minutes means some will still remain. If you don’t have dry sherry, use white wine. Sherry goes great with chicken and is used in many Spanish recipes. Another one to try is pollo al horno (oven-baked chicken with sherry)

Fresh Herbs 

We used fresh rosemary to give this classic recipe a delicious boost of flavor. Other fresh herbs to use include thyme, oregano, or even parsley. If you love rosemary too, another great chicken recipe is Mediterranean garlic rosemary boneless chicken thighs

Seasoning 

Salt and pepper are most commonly used to season the chicken and the sauce to taste. We opt for ground white pepper as it is milder and allows other flavors to shine through. 

Optional seasoning ingredients can include chili flakes or cayenne pepper for a bit of heat and flavor variation. Love your spice? Try Spanish chicken in smoky bravas sauce.

A dish of cooked chicken drumsticks with garlic and rosemary.

Is Pollo Al Ajillo Healthy? 

Like any recipe, using fresh unprocessed ingredients and serving with modest portion sizes is key to a healthy meal. This recipe is made using just a few ingredients and sourcing good quality (free range) chicken will help improve the flavor of this recipe. 

The same goes for olive oil. Use good quality extra virgin olive oil as EVOO is considered the healthiest of all oils. Check out the health benefits and nutrition facts for EVOO in this article: Olive Oil Nutrition Facts and how it can benefit your health. 

Proven Health Benefits of Olive Oil

  • Oleic acid is the main fatty acid in olive oil. It has been linked to many benefits, including heart, skin, and brain health. 
  • Olive oil, especially EVOO is also high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are known to help prevent or treat many chronic diseases. 
  • Olive oil also contains minerals like potassium, calcium, and iron, and vitamins E and K.

To make Pollo al Ajillo a healthier option:

  • Use skinless, boneless chicken.
  • Control portion sizes.
  • Serve it with a variety of vegetables or a side salad and whole grains to make it a more balanced meal.

Overall, Pollo al Ajillo can be a relatively healthy dish when prepared with attention to ingredient choices and portion control. It can be part of a well-rounded diet, especially if it’s enjoyed alongside other nutritious foods.

FAQs and Cooking Tips

Can I use boneless chicken for Pollo al Ajillo? 

Yes, you can use boneless chicken if you prefer. It will cook faster and may result in a lighter dish. 

What can I serve with Pollo al Ajillo? 

Pollo al Ajillo pairs well with crusty bread or some steamed rice to soak up the flavorful sauce. You can also serve it with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a balanced meal.

Can I use different spices in Pollo al Ajillo? 

Sure, some recipe variations include cayenne pepper for extra heat. Ground chili or chili flakes are also a great option for some added heat. 

How do I store leftovers? 

Store any leftover Pollo al Ajillo in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat it gently on the stovetop, in the oven, or in the microwave.

A pan of Spanish chicken with garlic and sherry.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 200g

Servings: 4

Amount per serving

 

Calories

577

% Daily Value*

Total Fat 35.4g

45%

Saturated Fat 7.9g

39%

Cholesterol 214mg

71%

Sodium 536mg

23%

Total Carbohydrate 13.8g

5%

Dietary Fiber 3.3g

12%

Total Sugars 3.1g

 

Protein 44.2g

 

Vitamin D 0mcg

0%

Calcium 62mg

5%

Iron 4mg

22%

Potassium 631mg

13%

*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

A pan of Spanish chicken with garlic and sherry.

Spanish Chicken With Garlic And Sherry (Pollo Al Ajillo)

Byron
Spanish Chicken With Garlic And Sherry (also known as Pollo Al Ajillo) is a classic bone-in chicken and garlic recipe that uses a few humble ingredients to create an oven-baked main meal that’s loaded with succulent chicken pieces, roasted garlic, and plenty of sweet sherry-infused sauce.
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 36 minutes
Total Time 41 minutes
Course bake, Main Course, main meal, meat
Cuisine Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
Servings 4 people, main
Calories 577 kcal

Equipment

  • 1 large 12 inch (30cm) skillet or pan
  • Oven
  • 12x8 inches (30x20cm) Ceramic Baking dish or ovenproof dish
  • Cooking Tongs
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board

Ingredients

  • 8-10 chicken drumsticks Allow 2 per person
  • 2 medium-sized onions peeled and sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 full head of garlic peeled and top trimmed so each head of garlic is exposed
  • 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup sherry can be substituted with white wine
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon of white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon of salt we use Pink Himalayan Salt

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C
    An oven dial turned up to 180C
  • Add around half the oil to a large pan or skillet on high heat. Add the chicken drumsticks, season with some salt and pepper and lightly brown on all slides. Around halfway through add the loosely chopped garlic. Once done, remove from the heat and set aside. This step should take around 5-6 minutes.
    8-10 chicken drumsticks, 4 cloves of garlic, 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, ½ teaspoon of white pepper, ½ teaspoon of salt
    Browned chicken in a pan with some garlic and olive oil
  • Add some oil, the chopped onion to the bottom of an oven-safe dish, then add the whole garlic head, then the browned drumsticks around the head of garlic.
    2 medium-sized onions, 1 full head of garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
    Browned chicken in a pan with some garlic and olive oil
  • Drizzle over the remaining oil, making sure you add plenty around the head of the garlic.
    A head of garlic in a dish with some fresh rosemary and chicken drumsticks.
  • Sprinkle the remaining herbs and seasoning over the dish, then pour in the sherry or white wine.
    ¼ cup sherry, 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
    A head of garlic in a dish with some fresh rosemary and chicken drumsticks.
  • Bake uncovered on the middle shelf at 400°F/200°C for 30 minutes or until your chicken is cooked through and browned to your liking. (Note: Chicken is cooked when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F/74°C.)
    A dish of cooked chicken drumsticks with garlic and rosemary.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 200gCalories: 577kcalCarbohydrates: 13.8gProtein: 44.2gFat: 35.4gSaturated Fat: 7.9gCholesterol: 214mgSodium: 536mgPotassium: 631mgFiber: 3.3gSugar: 3.1gCalcium: 62mgIron: 4mg
Keyword 1 hours recipe, baked Chicken, Bone-in Chicken, chicken, Chicken drumsticks, Drumsticks, garlic, garlic and rosemary, garlic chicken, oven roasted, Oven-baked

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