Fricasé de Pollo

Puerto Rican Chicken Stew

Chicken soups and stews, in any cuisine, are comfort, home-cooked treats. In this Fricasé de Pollo recipe, courtesy of Wilo Benet, which starts with a classic Puerto Rican sofrito, vegetables including carrots, potatoes, onion, peppers, and olives, are simmered until the chicken falls off the bone. Usually served over white rice. – Editor’s Note


Click here to purchase your own copy of Chef Wilo Benet’s cookbook: Puerto Rico True Flavors published by Read Street Publishing Inc.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds
  • 1 tablespoon adobo
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (not extra-virgin)
  • 3 tablespoons achiote oil
  • 2/3 cup sofrito
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, pounded to a paste
  • 1 cubanelle pepper, seeds and inner white ribbing removed, diced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped culantro
  • 3 cups fortified white cooking wine (like El Cocinero or substitute sherry)
  • 1 3/4 cups tomato sauce
  • 2 Idaho potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch thick pieces
  • 1/4 cup green olives stuffed with pimientos
  • 1/4 cup capers
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Serves 4

PREPARATION

  1. Separate the chicken into parts: With a knife, remove the wings, thighs and drumsticks from the chicken, and set aside. Cut out the chicken’s backbone entirely (discard or reserve for chicken stock if desired). Split the breast in two, and set aside. With a cleaver, split each breast in half lengthwise, and cut each piece into 4 even-sized pieces, careful to keep the skin as intact as possible, and set aside. Cut and discard the joint bone from the drumsticks, cut the drumsticks in two, and set aside. Remove the central bone from the thighs, and cut each thigh into 6 parts, careful to keep the skin intact.
  2. In a bowl, combine the chicken with the adobo and vinegar. Stir well to coat, and set aside in the refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour. If time allows, marinate overnight.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil with the achiote oil. Add the chicken, and brown for about 6 minutes on all sides. Add the sofrito, onion, garlic, pepper and culantro, and cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Deglaze the pan with the wine, and cook until it starts to evaporate, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce, and add the potatoes, carrots, olives and capers. Pour in 1 1/2 quarts of water, add the bay leaves, and season with 1 tablespoon of salt. Bring to a full boil, and cook for about 10 minutes.
  5. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally and skimming the surface of the stew. Once finished, the chicken should be tender enough to fall off the bone, and the sauce thick enough to coat the back of a spoon. Remove from the heat.
  6. Remove and discard the bay leaves before serving. Serve piping hot with a side of white rice.
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