Friday, January 22, 2010

Estofado de Pollo Con Hierbas Aromaticas (Chicken Stew with Aromatic Herbs?)

Lately in Southern California this week it's been nothing but cold and rain rain rain, something not so common down here. So in my house it's been nothing but hardy bean and meat stews, soaked with crusty warm bread and or hot rice as well as creamy vegetable soups we just consume as a hot drink. Mmmmm... and my mom's been making lots of hot chocolate for me when I come from school.

Anyways with this weather I felt like eating a hearty stew with chicken, potatoes, carrots, and meaty mushrooms in a thick soupy sauce of course to eat with my rice or bread.

I had/ still have tons of fresh herbs (a grip load of thyme I need to use up soon because it will go bad this week) and I decided to make this chicken stew throwing a bunch of fresh herbs I had. Let me tell you this chicken was so flavorful and aromatic, but yet mellow and pleasant.

I don't know what to call this dish honestly... it's not traditional or authentic anything, it's prepared like very typical Cuban and Spanish tomato based meat stews except I threw a bunch of fresh herbs that somehow married with the sweet smoked Spanish paprika really well, my boyfriend however felt that this harmony made it feel like it was missing something? (he's use to more bold tastes I guess, or that was just his personal opinion... I did feel it very mellow and not over powering so maybe that's his interpretation of missing something)

So back to not knowing what to call it, well it is a stew made with chicken and has tons of aromatic herbs so I guess it's okay to just label it "Estofado de Pollo Con Hierbas Aromaticas"/ Chicken Stew with Aromatic Herbs, not very creative I know if any of you think of another name let me know :)


-3 1/2- 4 lbs chicken
-1 large onion minced
-1 medium bell pepper minced
-1/2 head garlic, peeled, minced
-1 can 8 oz. tomato sauce
-1/2-1 cup red wine or white wine (your preference)
-2 large sprigs fresh rosemary
-4 small sprigs fresh thyme
-4 small sprigs fresh oregano
-12- 15 whole black peppercorns
-2-3 bay leaves
-1 teaspoonful sweet smoked Spanish paprika or cumin just something smokey (optional I just felt like adding it, I used smoked Spanish paprika)
-4 medium potatoes peeled left whole or cut in half
-1 lbs. carrots, peeled cut in half or left whole
-1 lbs. fresh or reconstituted mushrooms (I used shitake mushrooms I rehydrate)
-1 cup fresh or frozen peas (I use frozen and add it the last 5 minutes of cooking)
-salt to taste
-2 teaspoons chicken bouillon (optional)


(1) Cut chicken into segments, wash really well, pat-dry set aside. (in my house we usually wash the chicken by washing once with water, then drain, then we submerge in water in sink with fresh squeezed lime and squeezed lime halves, as well as salt and drain twice more then pat-dry and set aside, this gets rid of that "chicken taste" and any slimy residue most chicken has)
(2) Heat a large pan on high heat, when hot add olive oil, lower to medium high and immediately add chicken pieces one by one, sprinkle with salt and let brown on all sides.

(3) Set chicken aside, and now saute onions, bell peppers until tender about 5-7 minutes, then add garlic together with rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, black peppercorns and stir well until fragrant about 1-2 minutes., add wine and allow to bubble and reduce a bit, then add tomato sauce.

(4) Add chicken back, along with potatoes and carrots, add enough water to barely cover everything.
(5) Now bring to a boil on very high heat, remove any scum, add chicken bouillon powder or cube crumbled in, cover and cook on medium heat or medium low for 25 minutes, add peas and fresh mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes.
(5) Serve :)
(6) If using dried mushrooms add them together with the chicken, potatoes, and carrots. I soaked dried shitake mushrooms in water for 6 hours (well I just left it over night) then drained, washed, and cut ready to use in my recipe.

Please Note:
-I threw all the fresh herbs whole, you can tie it into a bouquet so you can remove later, or remove all the rosemary, thyme, and oregano leaves from the stems and chop them finely then add, and if whole black peppercorns bother you, you can throw ground I guess. Heck I think you can substitute all the fresh herbs with 1 teaspoon of the dried version of them and still get similar results.
-you can probably use chicken stock instead of water if you wanna avoid bouillon.