Pollo Guisado - Traditional Puerto Rican Chicken Stew
Updated: Jul 16
Today we take you all the way from a whole raw chicken to a delicious traditional Puerto Rican chicken stew. Doesn't get more traditional than this. All you need to bring is your appetite! Let's get cooking!!
1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 potato, chopped into ½ inch cubes
3 small carrots, slices into ¼ inch
½ c olives
2 tbs oil
½ c sofrito
8 oz tomato sauce
1 tbs adobo
1 tsp oregano
1 tbs anatto oil
1 chicken backbone, taken from whole chicken above
1 whole head of garlic
1 bunch recao
1 cubanelle pepper
First thing we want to do is break down our chicken. There are lots of videos out there about how to do this, and I’ve added a couple in the video description below.
Start by removing the legs. To do this, use some kitchen shears to open up the skin surrounding the hip joint. Just cut open the skin along the whole length of the thigh.
Once the skin is parted, and you can see down to the meat, just use your hands to dislocate the hip joint. Once that’s done, you should be able to see where the joint is. Then use your knife to make a cut right at the hip joint, separating the thigh and drumstick from the rest of the chicken. Once one leg is removed, go ahead and remove the other one. Use your scissors to open up the skin, then dislocate the hip and use your knife to cut off the leg.
Once both legs are off, go ahead and remove the wings, in much the same manner. Cut the skin away from the meat. Then locate the joint connecting the wing to the breast and use your knife to cut off the wing.
Now the only remaining pieces are the breast and the backbone. Use your kitchen shears to separate these two parts. Cut across the fat at the back for chicken and then you should be able to cut down along the ribs, separating the back from the front. You’ll notice that there is a fat line, running diagonally along this area. If you just just along this line with your scissors, you’ll be doing perfectly.
Continue to use your shears to separate the back bone from the breast. Once separated, put your backbone aside, which is what we are going to use to make our chicken stock.
Now take your breast and split it in half using your knife. Finally, cut your breasts in half. You don’t need to do this, and could cook your breast whole, but I’ve found that a whole chicken breast ends up being a really big piece and its way easier to cut it now, than it will be after it’s already cooked.
Now on to making our chicken broth. In a heavy sauce pan, add your chicken backbone, as well as the neck and fat that was stuffed in the chicken cavity. Then add you aromatics, including your carrot, your recao, your pepper, and your garlic. Then add about 5 cups of water, put your lid on, and turn the heat to medium low. Let your broth cook for at least three hours. Once ready, pour your pot into a strainer and discard all of the solids, leaving just the stock.
Now on to the chicken. You should keep your chicken in the refrigerator while you are making the stock. Now pull it out and season it with your adobo.
Once all season, go ahead and brown it in a large, heavy pot. Add your oil, bring your pot up to medium high, and add your chicken. Once browned on one side, turn your chicken and continue browning it. Repeat for all sides of the chicken.
Once browned, remove your chicken from the pot and set it aside.
Now add your annato oil, your onions, and your sofrito to the pot and saute for 2 to 3 minutes. Once reduced add your potatoes and carrots and continue sauteing. After a couple of minutes, add your tomato sauce, your olives, and your oregano and mix to combine.
Now add your chicken pieces back into the pot and, once they are all situated, pour your chicken stock back over it. Your chicken you should be at least two thirds covered. If it’s not, just add a little bit of water as well.
Now simmer your chicken on medium for 1-2 hours. The longer you cook it, the more tender the meat will be. Stir your chicken from time to time and make sure there is a enough water in the pan.
Once your meat is cooked, if your sauce still needs to thicken up a little more, just take off the top and turn your stove up to high, stirring more frequently to make sure nothing burns. Once the sauce is the consistency your want, you are all ready to eat.
Check out our instructional video, showing how to make this recipe step-by-step HERE.