Pollo Guisado – Puerto Rican Braised Stewed Chicken

This Recipe Was Proudly Featured On NBC Latino’s – Food Blogs We Love

One of my favorite dishes since I was a kid was my mothers pollo guisado. If I told you that my sisters and I use to fight like animals for the wings would you believe me? You better, because the claws came out as soon as the stewed chicken hit the tables. Wow, thinking about it now brings back crazy memories! And yes, even now as adults we still fight for the wings!

I remember every Saturday morning was a like this religious ritual my mom and step dad had… We all had our chores. With 5 girls in the house my mom had all the time in the world to herself while we did all her dirty work! (Thanks mom! Can you train Vicky for me PLEASE!)

One sister had the bathroom, another did the dusting, the other did the laundry, so on and so on. (Wow mommy now that I think of it you ran the house like a drill sergeant!)  My chore was accompanying my stepfather to the viveros(live poultry) and to all the food markets. Sounds simple eh? WRONG!!!! Has anyone ever been to a live slaughter house? The smell is something that stays with you FOREVER! YUK!  My stepfather would put me in charge of picking the chickens (one 5lb chicken and an 8 lb hen. Still remember that!) and have them ‘cleaned‘ <~ This process would instantly turn anyone into a vegetarian, so I’ll say no more on that!

Fast forward… When I got home with my stepfather (yeah, my mom made sure I didn’t let him escape to the numbersspot!) my job was to put away all the food we bought, clean the chickens with lemon and salt, turn that 1 pc chicken into 8 cuts. Then prep the carrots and potatoes for my mom. Since I was the oldest, I held rank! I cooked with MOMMA!!! I might not have loved it then but I thank her and I love cooking now!

Go get all your ingredients together!

Pollo Guisado – Puerto Rican Braised Stewed Chicken – serves 6


  • 5 to 6 lb chicken – cut into 8 pcs
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp achiote 
  • 1 med onion – chopped
  • 1 cubenelle pepper – chopped
  • 1 med tomato – chopped
  • 1/2 cup cilantro – roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp Recao
  • 1/2 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp saffron flower
  • 1 tbsp Fleur De Sel (sea salt)
  • 2 cloves aged black garlic
  • 8oz can spanish style tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted alcaparrado(spanish green olives, capers and roasted red pepper)
  • 4 cups of your finest organic chicken broth (mami don’t kill me, I didn’t have time to make my own 🙁 )
  • 1 oz white vinegar
  • 3 large potatoes – cubed
  • 2 large carrots – sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 btl Corona beer

Step 1– Clean the chicken with lemon & 1 tbsp salt. Rub the chicken like you’re making love to it 😉 Let the chicken sit in the mix for about 30 min. This will almost bleach the chicken making it super white and will assist in tenderizing it as well.

Step 2– Cut the chicken into 8 pcs. Dry with paper towel.

Step 3– heat a 4 quart cast iron pot (or a pot of your choice) and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Brown chicken lightly. Set chicken aside. Empty out remaining oil from pot. bring pot back to stove…

Step 4– Add 1 tbsp achiote oil into pot…

Step 5– Add refrito(onions, green peppers, tomato, cilantro, recao leaves)

Step 6– Sauté refrito until limp. Stirring occasionally

Look how all the brown bits disappear leaving a clean slate! That is your chicken base!

Step 7– Add recao mix (you guys call this sofrito), black aged garlic and sazon mix (organo, garlic powder, black pepper, turmeric, saffron, salt) Stir well. Let cook for 5 minutes.

Step 8– Add tomato sauce and alcaparrado mix – Stir well. Let cook for 2 min

Step 9– Stir in Chicken broth and vinegar.

Step 10 – Add potatoes, carrots and bay leaves – Stir Cover and let cook for about 30 min

Step 11– Add beer. Stir, cover and cook for 1 hour or until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

Finished product…

Serve over white rice and enjoy! 😀



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