Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Fricase de Pollo: Chicken Fricase

It's been a really long time since I've made fricase. I'd say over a decade, but I think I remember it well. Let me warn you that there a many steps involved, so if you are pressed for time you can most definitely take short cuts (i.e. bottled mojo, canned chicken broth, pre-cut chicken, etc).

  1. 1 whole chicken cut up in 6-8 pieces
  2. 1 cup sour orange (or 1/2 cup lime juice plux 1/2 cup orange juice)
  3. 4-6 cloves garlic, pressed
  4. salt and black pepper
  5. oregano
  6. olive oil
  7. 1 large onion, chopped (note: I use red onion because all the others make me cry, red onions tend to be quite large, so when I say 1 large onion, I mean a LARGE onion)
  8. 1 green pepper chopped
  9. 1 bay leaf
  10. 1 cup vino seco (I used white table wine, that's what I had handy)
  11. 8 oz tomato sauce
  12. handful of raisins
  13. handful of pimento stuffed olives, whole
  14. 1 tsp capers
  15. 1 cup chicken broth or water
  16. 1 large potato cubed
  17. 1 carrot stick, sliced

We're going to make a quick mojo to marinate our chicken for at least one hour before cooking. I always prefer pressed garlic, but if you don't have a mortar and pestle nor a garlic press then you can chop it finely.  Press your garlic in about 1 tsp of salt. In a large non-reactive bowl pour one cup sour orange (I know you don't have it, or never heard of it, just combine 1/2 lime juice and 1/2 orange juice straight from the fridge  - I can't find sour orange here either), the garlic and a dash of oregano. Place your chicken pieces in the marinade making sure they are coated evenly and liberally sprinkle with salt . Refrigerate for one hour or longer.

For this type of recipe I buy my chicken whole to ensure I get the neck, gizzards, backbones and wing tips to make broth/soup. If you are squimish about putting your hand into the cavity of the chicken or about cutting it up yourself, then by all means buy it already cup up in sections. And if you are super squimish you can use boneless chicken breast. 

Coat the bottom of a heavy skillet with olive oil. Remove your chicken pieces from the marinade (don't discard the marinade) and lightly brown the chicken on all sides. If they start to stick to the bottom, add more olive oil and reduce the heat. Remove the chicken from the skillet. Now, with the olive oil still in the pan, sautee your onions and green peppers, return your chicken pieces to the pan along with the marinade. Add the tomato sauce, bay leaf,  wine, broth or water (see below for homemade), olives and capers. Cover and let simmer on low for about 1 hour. This will appear watery, but the potatoes that we add later will thicken it.  Chop your potato and carrot. Add the potato and carrot and let simmer for another 20 minutes. Once your potatoes are tender turn off the heat and let you fricase sit for about half an hour before serving. Serve with white rice and fried plantains.
I made this in the morning and after letting it cool I refrigerated it. I reheated it for dinner.

The Broth:
This is the perfect opportunity to clean out your refrigerator vegetable bin. If it's not moldy, it's fair game. In a pot drop in your spare chicken parts (neck, gizzards, back, etc.) with about 2 quarts of water , now drop in whatever you find: limp celery, a carrot stick, some loose cloves of garlic, that chunk on onion that you only used a piece of and then forgot, lettuce, a little parsley, a tomato, in other words whatever you find because we're not going to eat this vegetables. We will strain the broth later. I also add a couple of cubes of Knorr Chicken Broth. Bring all of this to a boil for about ten minutes then reduce the heat to low and walk away. Check back on it in now an then, let it simmer for at least an hour. You will have way too much broth. Strain it, and freeze it. You can pick off the pieces of chicken if you so desire to eat them; otherwise discard everything except the liquid.

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