I love to prepare Chicken stew (Pollo guisado); it’s definitely one of my favorite Puerto Rican comfort foods. As it simmers, all of the flavors meld, and you’ll be intoxicated by its aroma. Tender pieces of chicken, chunks of soft potatoes, smothered with a rich, delicious sauce. It’s mouthwatering.
Smells can take you back to a time and place. This one gives me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and a reminder of how happy I’d get when mom was cooking pollo guisado.
She used a whole chicken cut into to parts. It was absolutely delicious, but cooking it with the skin on made it bit on the fatty side. So, in order to adjust to our healthier lifestyle, without sacrificing taste, I use a combination of boneless thighs and breasts. Whenever I do make it with thighs (bone-in) and split chicken breasts, I remove the skin.
The savory melody begins in a large pot, searing the chicken to seal in its juices, then quickly setting it aside in a bowl.
Using the chicken drippings, add sofrito, toss in the chopped potatoes, carrots, and celery, then pour the water, broth, tomato sauce, and you can’t forget the aromatic bay leaf.
Cooking this stew low and slow allows the sauce to thicken as the potatoes become so tender that they begin to fall apart. One bite into them and they practically melt in your mouth. After bringing it to a boil, and reducing the heat, the final step is adding in the seared chicken, along with the mushrooms. (Mushrooms are optional .. but not for me. )
My mom always serves this over white rice, but a healthier choice would be brown or parboiled rice. When the rice is layered with the amazing sauce from this delicious chicken stew, it really doesn’t make much difference.
It tastes exactly as I remember it.
Don’t forget to cut your boneless breast into nice thick chunks, and not into bite sizes. Boneless breast meat can easily overcook. To prevent this, cut the pieces thick and brown them, so they stay tender and moist inside.
- 2-3 large chicken boneless breast and 9 boneless thighs cut into thick pieces
- 2 potatoes chopped quartered
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 2 stalks celery, chopped pieces
- 2 carrots, chopped pieces
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup sofrito
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup broth
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/2 teaspoon Adobo Goya or season salt
- 1/2 a packet Sazon Goya con azafran
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon corriander
- 1/4 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 bay leaf
- black pepper (to taste)
- Season chicken with adobo, cumin, corriander, oregano, garlic, and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat.
- Sear chicken on both sides and remove from heat. Set aside in a large bowl.
- Add sofrito, potatoes, celery, carrots, and onions. Saute for a couple of minutes.
- Pour in all the liquids- sauce, broth and water. Add sazon and the bay leaf.
- Bring the to a boil, reduce to medium low. Add chicken and mushrooms.
- Stir the mixture occasionally. Cover loosely and simmer for about 30-40 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
- Discard the bay leaf, and serve over rice.