Pollo en Fricasé
The ultimate comfort food, this dish bears the mark of Spanish and French colonial influence, but takes a decidedly Puerto Rican approach. Bone-in chicken thighs are braised to perfection in a rich, oniony, tomato-based sauce with a lot of garlic, balanced with white wine and vinegar, and punctuated by briny olives and capers. Potatoes are added toward the end, for a satisfying meal. Like so many Puerto Rican dishes, this one is highly adaptable. Some brown the chicken first, adding sofrito and other aromatics later. Folks often add carrots, or use beer or red wine instead of white. My take is pared down and incredibly simple, making it an easy weeknight meal that can be prepared while you’re getting your house in order after work. This recipe is adapted from “Cocina Criolla,” which has remained the island’s best-known and most popular cookbook for more than 60 years.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 2to 3 pounds bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs, skins removed
- 1(8-ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 10garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- ¼cup white wine vinegar
- 2tablespoons olive oil
- 2teaspoons sweet paprika
- ½teaspoon ground cumin
- 3dried bay leaves
- 1 ½tablespoons kosher salt
- ¼teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 1cup dry white wine
- ¼cup pimento-stuffed olives
- 1tablespoon capers, drained
- 1pound Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/2-inch rounds
- Cooked white rice, for serving
- Chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Step 1Pat chicken dry, then place in a lidded, heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven.
Step 2In a medium bowl, combine tomato sauce, onion, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, paprika, cumin, bay leaves, salt and pepper; whisk together with a fork. Pour sauce over chicken.
Step 3Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Step 4Pour in white wine, then add olives, capers and potato slices, stirring well to incorporate. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 30 to 40 minutes, until potatoes are tender but not falling apart. If your sauce is thinner than you’d like, transfer chicken and potatoes to a serving bowl, then simmer sauce for 5 to 7 more minutes over medium-high until thickened.
Step 5Serve over white rice with plenty of sauce, and garnish with cilantro.