Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Seco de Pollo - Peruvian Chicken Stew

Peruvian Chicken soupImage by AIBakker via Flickr

Like a lot of people, we've been having to pull our belts tight lately. And eating cheap means eating a lot of chicken. I mentioned in the last post that I can usually get three meals out of one chicken. The first meal is usually something that uses chicken parts - typically the legs and thighs. Today, I cooked one of those meals, a delicious Peruvian dish called seco de pollo. "Seco" literally means 'dry', and signifies a stew, as opposed to 'aguadito' (meaning watery) for soup (that's aguadito in the picture).

I start with a whole chicken, which I wash thoroughly, pat dry with paper towels, then cut up into parts. I cut up into quarters, then separate the legs from the thighs, and use those 4 pieces for this meal. Finely chop up an onion. Take a bunch of fresh cilantro and stick it in the blender with enough chicken broth to make it paste-y, maybe 1/4 to a half a cup. Clean the cilantro first - make sure it doesn't have any large stems or icky pieces in it. I don't know if it's available in the US, but here in Peru you can buy cilantro in a jar, already pureed. If you can find it - maybe try a Latin market? - that takes some of the work and clean up out of the recipe.

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a little oil, then drop the chicken in to brown. You don't want to cook it through, just lightly brown it on both sides. While the chicken is browning, I get my peas ready - a large handful of pods. By the time I'm done cutting up the carrots, the chicken should be done browning. Take the chicken out, set it to the side, and put the onion in the pot. Add in a couple or three cloves worth of minced garlic, and if you want, some aji amarillo, and saute it all together for a couple minutes. Aji amarillo is a Peruvian chili pepper, which you should be able to find at the Latin market - if not, use a little finely minced jalepeno or similar pepper.

When the onions start to turn translucent, add in the cilantro mix and about 4 cups of chicken stock. Add in the peas and carrots. Peel 4 medium to large potatoes, cut into quarters and add them to the stew. Put the chicken parts back in, and cover and let it cook until all the vegetables are soft and the chicken is cooked through.

Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve with a big pile of white rice.

Sit back and enjoy the compliments. ;)
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  1. It's worth a shot. Though my Ecuadorian friend claims I can't cook south american. I simply claim that I don't have a good recipe. ;)

  2. Kelly.Thanks for the receipe,i made it and it was lovelyyyyyyyyy
    Im an Aussie in Lima and to ccok my first peruvian dish..im so proud LOL
    and so easy too
    your site is great,im glad i found it
    Roslyn,,,rozzy in expatperu

  3. Yay! I'm so glad it came out yummy for you, Rozzy! Thanks for stopping by. :D

  4. De Nada Kelly
    just a question
    tell me why is that peruvians eat..pasta.pototoes rice y beans all together on 1 big plate
    if i want pasta thats all i want not with beans or potatoes,still getting use to main meal at 2.00pm and snack at dinner time..back home lunch is simple,dinner at night is the main meal
    im going to try your other receipes too
    Thanks again Rozzy

  5. I'm not sure why they eat so many carbs at each meal - I guess because it's inexpensive and what they have readily available.

    What I don't understand is how they all manage to stay thin! I've gained weight eating so much rice and potatoes.

  6. Kelly, yummy! BTW, rice and beans together are a complete protein, replacing meat. Just my two hungry cents.

  7. Very true - my mom loves cooking veggie meals with just rice and beans.


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