Cuban Chicken Fricassee

This chicken fricassee recipe or fricase de pollo, as it is called in Spanish, is a throw back to my Cuban heritage. I grew up eating this dish and love it so much I make it often for my kids and they ALL love it (even my pickiest eater). It’s a great weeknight dinner because it’s easy to make, just takes a little tending to over the stove top, but it’s so worth it.

Chicken fricassee with jasmine rice

What is a fricassee?

Fricassee is a method of cooking meat, usually chicken and sometimes veal. The meat is cut into pieces and braised (cooked over low to medium-low heat). It is served with its sauce, traditionally a white sauce although the Cuban tradition is tomato based. This method of cooking originated in France and it relies on humble ingredients and is cooked in a single pot. A Fricassee is half way between a saute and a stew. The meat will be fall off the bone tender. The flavors in slow cooked sauce are soaked up by the veggies and are perfect for dipping with bread. YUM!!

Cuban chicken fricassee (fricase de pollo) which is what we’re making today, is usually made with a whole chicken cut into pieces and cooked over medium low heat in a tomato sauce made with a “sofrito” (sauted onions, pepper and garlic).

How do you make chicken fricassee?

Traditionally this dish is prepared with the whole chicken, skin on. The pieces are browned in a couple tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil then removed from the pot and set aside. The oil and brown bits left on the bottom of the pot give the “sofrito” amazing. To save some time, being this is a weeknight dinner, I’m using boneless skinless chicken breasts so I skip that part all together saving a good 10 minutes. When the family is hungry EVERY. MINUTE. COUNTS.

To the sofrito…. this is a saute of small diced onions, green bell pepper and minced garlic, cooked in olive oil over high heat. This is part of what makes the sauce so flavorful. After cooking these veggies for about 8 minutes, I add some dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio. This will allow those delicious brown bits from the sauted veggies to separate from the bottom of the pot and start combining to make the sauce. Letting this cook for a couple of minutes, will evaporate the alcohol. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol you may leave it out.

Now we add the tomato sauce and allow this to simmer for about 5 minutes stirring occasionally. The chicken goes into the pot with the seasonings. All that’s left is to add the Spanish olives and the diced potatoes. This will cook over medium low heat for about 30-40 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender.

How to serve Cuban chicken fricassee?

Traditionally fricassee is served over white rice. I prefer using Jasmine rice, freshly cooked. I have had my kids occasionally want to change it up and ask for mashed potatoes which are also the perfect vessel for the delectable sauce. For a side dish, fried sweet plantains are a delicious compliment. Slices of Cuban bread serve a great purpose for dipping into the sauce of this dish. YUM!!

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced in two lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, small diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, small diced
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic, 3-4 cloves
  • 1 cup of dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium (preferably homemade or organic)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 medium yellow gold potatoes, diced in 4-6 equal pieces
  • 1/2 Spanish olives (with pimiento in the center)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over high heat in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven.
  2. Add the onions and green pepper. Saute for 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Lower the heat to medium high and give the veggies a stir and add the wine.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, water, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Lower the heat to medium low.  Add the chicken,  potatoes,  bay leaf and olives.
  7. Cook covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Potatoes should be fork tender.  If sauce has dried out, add a quarter cup of water and stir.
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Cuban Chicken Fricassee

Cuban chicken fricassee is slow braised chicken in a flavorful tomato based sauce. This is a great hearty weeknight dinner that is sure to please even the pickiest eater in the family. Best of all it’s easy to make, just takes a little time over the stove for that tender delicious chicken and sauce to work it’s magic.

  • Author: Jennifer
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 30-40
  • Total Time: 50
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Cuban
Scale

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast sliced in two lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, small diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, small diced
  • 2 tbsp. minced garlic, 3-4 cloves
  • 1 cup of dry white wine, like a Pinot Grigio
  • 8 oz. tomato sauce, no salt added
  • 1 cup chicken broth, low sodium (preferably homemade or organic)
  • 1/2 cup of water
  • 2 medium yellow gold potatoes, diced in 4-6 equal pieces
  • 1/2 Spanish olives (with pimiento in the center)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. oregano
  • 2 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Heat 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil over high heat in a heavy bottom pot or dutch oven.
  2. Add the onions and green pepper. Saute for 8 minutes until onions are translucent.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  4. Give the veggies a stir and add the wine.  Allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Lower the heat to medium high and add the tomato sauce, chicken broth, water, cumin, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
  6. Lower the heat to medium low.  Add the chicken,  potatoes,  bay leaf and olives.
  7. Cook covered for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Potatoes should be fork tender.  If sauce has dried out, add a quarter cup of water and stir.

Notes

This recipe calls for boneless skinless chicken breasts but if you’re using the more traditional bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces, brown the chicken.  Then remove the chicken and set aside for steps 2-5.  

As a time savor, you can dice the veggies the night before and leave refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to use.

The potatoes can be peeled and diced the night before.  Place in a bowl with water and refrigerate until ready to use.

Left overs can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated up to three days or frozen for up to three months.

Reheat over the stove top and serve with fresh white rice.

Keywords: Cuban chicken fricassee fricase de pollo

Jennifer Lopez

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