Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gloria's Cha-Cha Chicken Fricassee

Cuban Chicken Fricassee
My Chicken Fricassee recipe is an adaptation of Cuban-style chicken fricassee, which is not to be confused with classic chicken fricassee from French cuisine. Like the traditional Cuban version, which my Mom made when I was growing up, my Cha-Cha Chicken Fricassee features robust creole flavors without the peppery heat associated with other Caribbean cuisines. The green olives, pimientos and capers in the alcaparrado provide a jaunty little tang that balances the subtle sweetness of the sherry, for an intriguingly complex yet family-friendly flavor.

Alcaparrado is a mixture of manzanilla olives, capers & chopped pimientos, sold in jars along with olives. It is used frequently in Cuban and Puerto Rican cooking, especially in ground beef recipes. You can find this condiment in grocery stores that sell Latin American products, and Goya is a popular brand. If you cannot find Alcaparrado, you can substitute an equal amount (total) of pimiento-stuffed green olives and capers. If you don't care for capers, simply omit them and use only the pimiento-stuffed olives.

To complete the meal, serve the chicken fricassee over cooked white rice with a green salad or other green vegetable of your choice on the side. If you are limiting your carbohydrate intake, just serve this as a low-carb stew without the rice, as shown in the photo on the left. My recipe makes 4 to 6 servings, and any leftovers taste great when reheated the next day.

Approx. 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs chicken drumsticks, thighs, or whole legs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bell pepper, sliced into rings
1 onion, sliced into rings
Juice of 1 lemon
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/3 cup Alcaparrado (or combination of capers & pimiento-stuffed green olives, drained
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley

Place the chicken, garlic, bell pepper, onion and lemon juice in a shallow lidded container or a resealable plastic bag. Cover or seal, then shake to combine. Place in refrigerator to marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

When ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot or deep, heavy saucepan over medium heat. Remove the onion & pepper rings from the marinade, add to the hot oil and cook until the onions & peppers are soft, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat, add the chicken & reserved marinade and cook until the chicken is lightly browned on all sides. Stir in remaining ingredients, bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat and partially cover with lid to let some of the liquid evaporate during cooking. Cook until the chicken is done, about 40 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve hot, preferably over cooked rice. Garnish with a little chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

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