October 8, 2007

Chicken of the Fric-a-see
Fricasé de Pollo

Filed under: chicken,recipes — Jose @ 1:57 am

Along with picadillo and bistec de palomilla, Fricasé de pollo is one of the protein dishes we ate most frequently growing up. Using basic Cuban cooking ingredients and techniques you end up with a savory-sweet tomato sauce and succulent soup-style chicken and potatoes. Think chicken cacciatore, but with more vegetables.

What makes this dish distinctive is the combination of the briny olives and the dry sherry as the “deglazer”. My mother hates olive oil but doesn’t seem to mind olives. My fiancee, the inverse. Needless to say, you can’t please everyone. For an interesting contrast and a bit of a sweeter sauce, add some dry seedless raisins with the olives and one chopped carrot with the potatoes. I went savory this evening.

1 Chicken, 4-5 lbs washed, dried and cut in to pieces, excluding wings
1 Yellow onion, chopped
1 Green bell pepper, cored and chopped
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 can Tomato paste
2 cups Chicken broth
1/4 cup Dry Sherry
1 Bay leaf
3-4 Medium red potatoes
8 – 12 Spanish olives, pitted, pimento stuffed
1 tsp. Fresh squeezed lime juice
  Salt and White Pepper
1/4 cup Dry seedless raisins
1 Large carrot, in 1″ segments

Once I’ve separated my chicken parts, I will salt them and allow them to sit, uncovered in the refrigerator for a bit, perhaps an hour. This will season the chicken and leech out any excess moisture that would interfere with browning. Prep your veggies and get your meez together…

Brown the chicken pieces in two batches if you have a smaller pot (as I do). Once the pot is good and hot, add the olive oil and once the oil is fragrant and all wavy gravy in the pot, add the chicken–skin side down. Pour a glass of your favorite beverage, imbibe and focus on not moving the chicken.

After the skin is golden brown with some spotting (about 6 minutes), turn the pieces over, even scraping a bit so as to not leave behind huge chunks of the skin. Note that small little bits of the skin stuck in the pan are good great though. Transfer the browned chicken off heat and cover with foil loosely. There were will be a quite a bit of fat (from the chicken plus the initial olive oil), 4 tablespoons of which should be left in the pan.

To the fat/oil mix, add the chopped onion and green pepper, reduce the heat to medium and stir occasionally for about 5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook for about 1 minute.
if the pan seems dry, add some more of the fat that you didn’t throw away.

You know it’s time to add the sherry when the garlic fragrance peaks. Better earlier than later. Now deglaze–pour the sherry in all at once, scraping any burned bits from the bottom of the pan. Allowing the liquid to reduce a bit (about 2 minutes) add the broth, tomato paste and bay leaf. Add the reserved chicken and and bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook for about 30 minutes, open and add the potatoes and olives as well as the carrots and raisins if you like. Bring to a slow simmer and cook with the lid slightly ajar for another 30 minutes, until the taters are tender.

At this point, remove the chicken pieces from the pot while we work on the sauce. Turn up the heat in the pot to medium bringing the liquid to a slight boil and reduce the liquid for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, careful not to let potatoes stick to the bottom. You want this sauce to be thin, but with a bit of body to cling to the rice when served.

While the sauce reduces, remove the skins from the chicken parts and extract the breast meat from its bones. You can also do this for the thigh and leg but I prefer the dark meat on the bone. Once the sauce has reduced in the pot a bit, adjust the seasoning with salt and white pepper.

Return the chicken meat to the pot and stir gently over medium heat so as to get a nice coat of fricasé love all over the chicken. Once the sauce returns to a boil, turn off the heat, cover and allow to sit for a few minutes (or as long as you can bear, it’s better the next day). Immediately before serving, add the squeeze of lime and stir.

Serve over white rice with maduros.


1 Comment »

  1. Delicious!! Super easy to make. My husband and I loved it.

    Comment by Reena — December 6, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

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