Cuban Chicken Fricassé (Pollo Fricase)
This authentic Cuban chicken fricassé recipe is an easy chicken stew that everybody loves. It is a healthy Latin flavored dish with tons of hidden vegetables. It’s especially good for picky eaters.
This recipe resembles a lot of venezuelan pollo guisado. It’s basically a chicken stew with a rich tomato-based sauce.
The seasoning is slightly different and the cuban pollo fricassee has a thicker sauce with a touch of dry wine.
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Legs, drumsticks or thighs?
You can use the three of them with no problem. It will all depend on your personal preferences.
My favorite is chicken thighs. Sadly, the day I took the pictures I only had drumsticks. Chicken thighs are so underrated. They have amazing flavor and they cost less than chicken legs. So, if you are on a budget that is a good tip right there.
Just don’t use chicken breast because it doesn’t have skin to sear and the result is too dry.
With or without skin?
Many people don’t tolerate the texture of chicken skin. So, if that is your case, you can remove it.
I won’t lie to you, the flavor changes. The skin provides grease and moisture to the meat. It releases flavor into the sauce and prevents any dryness in the chicken.
Another option is to remove the peel before serving. So, if you dislike the texture, you can still have the flavor.
How to season the chicken?
Here comes one of the best-kept secrets for this dish. Besides the classic salt and pepper — I like to use sea coarse salt for meats —, I add the juice of 1 orange or lime.
Then I let the chicken “marinate” in this juice for at least 30 min. The acid not only adds a deeper layer to the flavor of the sauce, but it also makes the meat tender and it helps keep the moisture during the cooking process.
How to make chicken fricassé Cuban style?
This recipe is pretty easy to make.
The first step is to sear the chicken. In a big pot, I add a bit of olive oil and sear the seasoned chicken until the skin is crispy. Don’t worry if the chicken is raw inside. At this point, it is just about adding color to the skin.
Remove the chicken and in the same oil add the onion and the garlic. Cook for a minute and then add dry wine, tomato sauce, and a bay leaf. Let it simmer for a minute.
Add the chicken back to the pot with some carrot and potatoes cut into cubes. Plus some olives. Let it simmer for 40 minutes. Check every 10 minutes to see if the sauce is too thick. Add a bit of water. Don’t let the sauce reduce too much.
Keep the heat medium to avoid burning the stew.
Finally, adjust salt and pepper and serve!
What to serve with pollo fricase?
- 8 chicken drumsticks (note 1)
- 2 medium yellow potatoes
- 1 big carrot
- 1 onion cut into cubes
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 10 – 15 green olives
- 2 cups tomato sauce
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 lime
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Season the chicken drumsticks with salt, pepper and lime juice. Let it marinate for 30 minutes.
Peel and cut into cubes the potatoes and the carrot.
In a big pot over medium heat, add the chicken drumsticks and sear the skin until it is slightly golden. Remove the chicken and save it for later.
Add the olive oil, onion, and garlic. Stir and cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the dry wine, tomato sauce, and bay leaf. Simmer for a minute.
Toss the carrot, potatoes, and olives. Add the chicken back into the sauce and cook for 30 – 40 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked and the veggies are fork-tender. (note 2)
- You can use chicken thighs or whole legs as well. Stir every 10 minutes and add water if needed.
- Don’t let the sauce reduce too much.