Thanks to the world renowned Brazilian chef Alex Atala, Galinhada has been brought under the spotlight when he created his own interpretation of this dish a few years ago for an event in the city of São Paulo. In Australia, Atala also cooked his famous Galinhada when he came to Sydney in 2013 during his new book signing tour: Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients. Galinha means chicken in Portuguese and Galinhada is the name of a Brazilian chicken stew that is basically prepared with onions, garlic, tomatoes, spices and herbs and served with plain rice and the good old Brazilian crumb that we call farofa. There are endless versions of the recipe and, depending where it comes from, rice may also be cooked with the stew. I have adapted a few recipes to create my own. A good Galinhada recipe should be really tasty and slow cooking is mandatory as this is what makes the flavours develop and the chicken fall off the bone. Even though it takes a lot of time to cook the chicken the recipe is very easy to make and the results are worth the wait.
1 whole 2kg chicken
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 large onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, deseeded and skinless, chopped
2 long red chillies, chopped
1 tbs ground coriander seeds
1 tbs turmeric
1 tbs sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
3tbs extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup cachaça* (or brandy)
3 tbs white wine vinegar
Freshly ground salt and pepper to taste
½ cup parsley, finely chopped
1 cup coriander, finely chopped
Plain Brazilian Crumbs (Farofa):
2 tbs of olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 cups of toasted manioc flour**
1 tbs rosemary, leaves picked (or any other herb of your choice)
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
You need to start this recipe one day ahead
1. In a large bowl mix garlic, onions, tomatoes, chillies, coriander seeds, turmeric, paprika, bay leaf, olive oil, cachaça and vinegar.
2. Trim the excess fat of the chicken. Remove legs and thighs and divide the breasts.
3. Combine chicken pieces with the marinade, season with salt and pepper, cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. For the farofa, in a medium frying pan over medium heat the olive oil and fry the onion, stirring for 5 minutes or until soft. Stir in the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Pour in the toasted cassava flour and stir to combine. Stir in rosemary and season with salt and pepper.
5. In a large heavy-based saucepan, quickly fry the chicken and marinade for about 5 minutes, and pour enough water to cover the chicken. Cook uncovered over low-medium heat for 3 hours, stirring occasionally. Stir in the herbs. Serve with steamed rice, root vegetables and farofa.
*Available from large liquor stores and online
**Available from South American grocers and online