Photo by Hispanic Kitchen

Pollo con Puerros y Champiñones (Chicken with Leeks and Mushrooms)

Cuisine: Spanish
Servings: 4

Recipe contributed to Hispanic Kitchen by Veronica Shine.

Sometimes the simplest meals are the tastiest, as the people from Extremadura claim. This autonomous region in Spain remains an "undiscovered" community. Even many Spaniards who are savvy and proud of their country and heritage are unfamiliar with the area other than what is stated in history books. It's one of the country's most sparsely populated regions, and there was no major road or rail system to reach much of the area until fairly recently.

Situated in the central-western portion of Spain, along the Portuguese border, the inhabitants are of Celtic and not Iberian origin and resided here long before the Roman Empire came calling.

Extremadura is sometimes called the "Kingdom of the Conquistadores." Cortés and Pizarro are just two of many who have hailed from Extremadura. Many towns and cities in the New World carry a name from the discoverers' homeland.

Who hasn't heard of Mérida in Mexico or Venezuela? Alternatively, the second largest city in Colombia, Medellin, is contained as a smaller version in Extremadura. Even Albuquerque, New Mexico, holds a legacy in this remote region. Evidence of Extremadura's turbulent past oozes from the walls of countless medieval castles and monuments, as it was frequently a battlefield in Spain's wars with Portugal.

The flavors and varieties of Spain's cuisine offer overwhelming choices. However, in the pueblo kitchens of Extremadura, fare tends to be simple and unpretentious, and that's not a bad thing at all. The land in this area is fertile, and most food is homegrown. The changing cornucopia of fruits and vegetables sets the menu of the day and is used to enhance the staples such as chicken, lamb, and ham. The freshness of the produce is what makes it very special. In Extremadura, the vegetable of choice to add an extra zest of flavor year-round is the leek, a relative of the onion.

Pollo con puerros y champiñones is so simple and quick to put together that you'll want to make it for tonight's dinner.


  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet until hot. Place the onions and sliced garlic into it.
  2. Add the mushrooms and chopped leek sprouts. Add a pinch of salt and leave on the stove to cook covered for about 5 or 10 minutes.
  3. When completed, remove the mixture to a colander and drain it.
  4. Cut the chicken breasts in half and make a pocket in each. Fill the pocket with a small portion of this mixture. The mixture is not a stuffing but is only used to add more flavor to the chicken.
  5. Dredge the chicken in the egg, and then the flour mixed with breadcrumbs. Add the chicken using tongs to a pan with hot oil to fry.
  6. When the chicken pieces are a deep golden brown, remove them and place them in an oven-proof casserole dish. Sprinkle chicken with pepper.
  7. Add the balance of the cooked leeks, onions, and mushrooms over the top and place the dish into a preheated set at 350ºF for 15 minutes. Stir the chicken occasionally, so it does not burn on the bottom.
  8. Serve the chicken breasts, the roast's juices, and a bouquet of leeks, onions, and mushrooms over each. Place lemons at the side.
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