James Beard championed this turn-of-the-century dish from California’s San Joaquin Valley, but his recipe left some mysteries to solve.
Why This Recipe Works
This century-old recipe surrounds braised chicken with several iconic California ingredients, including red wine, almonds, and olives. To make the most of each element, we add them at various stages in cooking. While the original recipe calls for thickening at the end with a cornmeal slurry, tasters preferred toasting the cornmeal early and allowing it to braise with the chicken. This also helps the sauce stay smooth rather than gritty. Be sure to wait until the last minute for the final toss of cilantro, so it maintains its fresh flavor.