Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pollo en Fricasé

Chicken Fricassee c2-w

Popular in the Caribbean islands, especially Puerto Rico and Cuba, Pollo en Fricase is really just a fancy name for chicken casserole. But not just any casserole, mind you - succulent chicken pairs with an exotic blend of herbs, garlic (gaaaaaaaaaaaaarlic!) and a few choice veggies in this Caribbean classic.

 My mom used to be ((well actually still is) a big fan of chicken casseroles - after all, what is easier than popping a few chicken pieces in the oven for supper? - and I remember one of her stock standards was made by layering chicken pieces, bacon and peas on a bed of rice and baking the whole thing in the oven with a bit of chicken stock. One of those low fuss winners that kept my dad and us kids coming back for more each time. Ooooh those bacon bits...

Chicken Fricassee b2-w

This reminds me of mom's stock standard, but with a few extra additions ("But if you phone now, there's more!") - chopped tomatoes, plump raisins and lemony green olives, not to mention the bright colours of bellpepper and peas. Many Puerto Rican dishes shares this same base of garlic, onions, bellpeppers and tomatoes and it's easy to see why - it's a killer combo!

Now that I'm becoming older my mom's habits are starting to make a lot of sense to me and I'm also growing more and more fond of dishes where you can just bang everything in the oven, put your feet up with a glass of wine or perhaps a tot of ice-cold limoncello, chat with TheHusband and just generally wind down after a long day at work. Oh and the best part of course - return to the kitchen an hour or so later, remove the insanely delectable looking chicken from the oven and present it to your adoring public (erm, yes that'd be you TheHusband and kitties) with great fanfare. Clever? You betcha.

Chicken Fricassee d2-w

Pollo en Fricasé
Adapted from Whats4Eats
Serves 4 - 6

The recipe traditionally calls for long slow simmering on the stovetop, but I find it easiest to just brown the chicken on the stovetop then stick everything in the oven for an hour until succulent. Some recipes also include potatoes, which I think would be a splendid addition and of course then you don't need to make a starch to go with it. In the absence of potatoes I like to serve it with samp for an uniquely South African twist.

1 tbsp olive oil
1kg (2.2 lbs) chicken pieces, skin on (thigh, leg etc)
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, chopped
1 tsp turmeric (optional)
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
2 tins (400g/16 oz each) chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup raisins
100g green olives
handful fresh oregano, chopped
handful fresh coriander (cilantro), chopped
3 - 4 bay leaves
1 cup peas (frozen is okay)
1. Heat oil in a large frying pan and brown chicken pieces in batches. Season with salt and pepper, then transfer to a casserole dish. 
2. Quite a bit of the fat from the chicken will have cooked down - leave this in the pan and saute the onion, turmeric, garlic and bellpepper in it, until the onion is translucent. 
3. Add tomatoes, vinegar and sugar and cook over medium-heat for 10 minutes. 
4. Stir raisins, olives, oregano and coriander through the tomato mixture, then pour evenly over the chicken pieces in the casserole dish. Insert bay leaves amongst the chicken pieces, then bake at 180C (350F) for 50 minutes. 
5. Scatter peas over the top, then return to the oven for another 10 - 15 minutes. 

You can also add some chopped up ham to this dish or even a spicy chorizo. Substitute the yellow bellpepper for a red or even green one if you like, but the olives must be green! 


Adele on February 02, 2011 1:17 am said...

Very clever! I'm a massive fan of the roast chicken bake. Like you say, it's easy, and always turns out delicious. Plus you can't go wrong with a little gaaaaaaaaarlic!

chow and chatter on February 02, 2011 1:22 am said...

wow looks great love easy dishes like this and good leftovers

Joanne on February 02, 2011 3:34 am said...

I want something! Anything! That will remind me of the Caribbean. And if I can just fling it all in a pan and hope for the best. THat's a plus. This sounds fantastic!

nina- My Easy Cooking on February 02, 2011 5:24 am said...

An absolute stunning dish, beautifully captured!

Ishay on February 02, 2011 11:18 am said...

This dish looks gorgeous- those olives, where did you get them if I may ask? The tomatoey and spice infused base makes this dish so comforting- am sure it tastes it too.

Bakstein said...

How do you go about preparing your samp? Is it similar to old school stampmielies?

Ishay on February 02, 2011 11:29 am said...

Really? They look like fresh green ones you secured from some olive farm by pledging your bonus! :) Beauts!

Marisa on February 02, 2011 12:43 pm said...

@Bakstein - Very straightforward - simply cook them in salted water for 45 mins to an hour. Think the traditional stampmielies has some added extras?

Alida on February 02, 2011 2:31 pm said...

Can you say YUMMMOOO?

Koci on February 02, 2011 10:53 pm said...

This looks so yummy! I need to give this a try soon, since my mom adores bell peppers. All the colors look great!

Anonymous said...

This dish looks so delicious! I am SO loving your blog!I'm bookmarking this and hope to make it next week.

Anonymous said...

Aah yes, the comfort of a chicken casserole. Fabulous.
:-) Mandy

Homemade Heaven on February 03, 2011 11:36 am said...

This is certainly on the menu as soon as the weather drops below inferno! Love it.

TS of eatingclub vancouver on February 04, 2011 8:01 am said...

This looks so familiar and comforting to me! I can totally imagine its taste, imagine eating it with rice...

Megan @ FeastingonArt on February 07, 2011 12:36 pm said...

My boyfriend would love this dish! Your photographs are so full of light and pretty!

Marisa on February 07, 2011 12:51 pm said...

@Megan - Thank you! Hope your man enjoys it.

Lenna said...

I am making this tonight for my roommates, so wish me luck, I am not a very skillful cook:)

Marisa on February 08, 2011 3:14 pm said...

@Lenna I'm sure you'll be fine! Hope your roommates appreciate all your effort. :-)

polkadotcupcake on February 09, 2011 10:33 am said...

Mmmm chicken casserole.. There're few things more comforting and homey than that.. can't wait to get my kitchen back so I can try this yummy version! :)

Lenna said...

So I did it and it was a HUGE success. My friends loved it and talked about it all the night:)

Marisa on February 10, 2011 10:19 am said...

@Lenna - So glad to hear that!

Eliana on February 12, 2011 6:03 am said...

Hmmmm - this is making my mouth water. I have an aunt who makes this and yours looks just like it.

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