Monday Munchies: Chicken fricasé (fricasé de pollo)
This week’s recipe might not be the easiest to do in dorms, unless your common room is awesome and has a pan and a large pot. This post is for those of you who desperately miss Cuban food and have trouble finding it around D.C. I decided to try this Cuban recipe (with a massive amount of help from my mother who makes the best ropa vieja in the world) because it’s one of the easier Cuban recipes to make.
Fricasé de pollo uses the same base that almost every Cuban dish uses—a “sofrito” made of tomato sauce, cooking wine, green peppers, onions, garlic, green olives, cumin, oregano, salt, and pepper. Once you can throw those ingredients together you only need to add the meat.
The recipe is based on my mom’s incredibly old cookbook, Cocina Criolla, by Nitza Villapol, the “Cuban Julia Child.” It doesn’t include cooking times, so all are estimated. The amounts here make 8 servings.
- 2 pounds of chicken
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 sour orange (or regular orange if you can’t find any)
- 1 large green pepper
- 1 large onion
- 1 can of tomato sauce
- 1/3 cup of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of “alcaparrado,” a pepper and olive mix
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper
- 1 cup of dry wine or cooking wine
- 1 pound of potatoes
Cut each chicken breast in half and marinate them in minced garlic, juice from the sour orange, and the onion and green pepper cut in long, round pieces (sliced). Heat the olive oil in a skillet on medium high and brown the chicken by cooking it a few minutes on each side until golden brown.
From here I suggest moving the chicken to a large pot, which will make adding the rest of the ingredients much easier. Heat it to medium low and move the chicken into it. Add the onion, pepper, and sour orange from the marinade and then add the tomato sauce, alcaparrado, cooking wine, salt, and pepper. We added a bit of cumin and oregano also.
As you go, you will want to add a bit of water, just enough so the tomato sauce doesn’t thicken while cooking. About 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup should suffice. About 15 minutes or so later, add the potatoes, cut into chunks, and finish cooking. Do so for about 15 more minutes, or until the chicken is tender and has absorbed the flavor of the sauce. Add some warmed green peas on top for looks.
To make a truly Cuban meal, you should make some rice, black beans, and tostones highly suggested on the side. Tostones are fried plantains—what you see on the side in the photo.
Note: I did the translation of the recipe, which was originally in Spanish.