This Pollo Guisado Dominicano recipe is one of the most flavorful Dominican chicken stews out there! It only uses simple traditional ingredients. The secret is how you incorporate the flavors and how you cook the chicken.
This dish is very easy to make, but there are some specific steps you cannot skip. If you enjoy this hearty, nutrient-dense, and low-calorie meal, make sure to check out some other Dominican dishes on my site!
WHAT IS POLLO GUISADO DOMINICANO?
More commonly referred to as Dominican chicken or Dominican stewed chicken, this dish is the epitome of flavor! You will see this dish, Pollo Guisado, in virtually every Latin American cuisine. Every country and region has its own twist to it!
There are many variations of this dish but no matter which one you make, you can rest assured that they will all be loaded with slightly spicy and herbaceous chicken and veggies.
This dish is very easy to make and doesn’t cost a fortune! It requires a couple of specific steps to incorporate the flavors in the best possible way. You can, of course, take some shortcuts. But I highly recommend the method I’ve laid down below.
It’s how Dominican cooks get so much flavor from a few ingredients.
WHAT DO YOU ACTUALLY NEED FOR POLLO GUISADO DOMINICANO?
Obviously, you need chicken. As most Pollo Guisado recipes do, I’ve used chicken thighs and drumsticks. You can use other cuts as well, but they will affect the cooking time.
Then, I added lime juice. It’s essential to help tenderize the chicken.
We are using some basic spices like salt, black pepper, adobo seasoning, oregano, and cayenne pepper. We will also use sofrito, which you can either buy or make at home.
Then, a key ingredient that makes this Dominican stewed chicken recipe unique from that of other regions, is the sazón goya. There are a couple of different options, but you really want to use this option (if possible).
Finally, you also need green and red bell pepper, some sliced onions, fresh cilantro, and tomato paste. These elements help develop a deeper flavor and add some bulkiness to your stew.
HOW TO MAKE POLLO GUISADO DOMINICANO
First, season your chicken with lime juice and spices and let it marinate for at least 30 minutes.
Then, heat a skillet over medium heat and add 1 1/2 Tbsp of sugar and let it canalize.
Next, add the chicken pieces and brown them for about 10 minutes, flipping the pieces as needed. Add 2-3 Tbsp of marinating liquid chicken or water so it doesn’t dry out. This will also create a nice sauce.
Once your chicken is browned, add the tomato paste to the skillet and mix it well together. This will help tenderize the chicken and start developing some extra flavors.
Then add the bell peppers and onions and let it cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring everting well together.
Finally, you’d want to add the water and let it simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR MAKING POLLO GUISADO DOMINICANO
- You may think the way I mix the marinade is a waste of time. However, incorporating the flavors in that specific order helps ensure they are mixed well. And, it helps layer the flavors onto the chicken. For example, the lime juice will help directly tenderize the chicken. If you added it later, it wouldn’t be as effective. It takes a little bit of time (about 5 minutes in total) but has a massive effect on the final texture and flavor of the chicken. And as you know, Dominican food is all about flavor!
- If you want to marinate the chicken pieces for longer, leave them inside the fridge for a couple of hours. This will make the chicken more flavorful and generally, juicier and more tender. You can even leave the chicken overnight, but a couple of hours will do as well.
- When you cook the chicken, you shouldn’t stop until it has reached an internal temperature of 165ºF (74ºC). This will take roughly 30 minutes on the stovetop from the moment you start browning the chicken. Keep checking the internal temperature after about 20 minutes of time has elapsed.
WHAT MAKES THIS RECIPE DOMINICAN-STYLE POLLO GUISADO?
- First, the caramelized flavor of the chicken, because of the sugar added before frying the chicken.
- The use of sofrito, an onion, and garlic cilantro-based marinade is common in Latin American cuisine as well. As I mentioned before, you can buy it pre-made.
- This recipe really stands out because of its use of sazón goya. Goya is a well-known Latin American brand that produces sazón for different regional cuisines. This particular one (the yellow package) is often used for Dominican dishes.
- And lastly, the addition of tomato paste provides a unique sweet and slightly acidic flavor to the recipe. It helps balance out the sweetness of other ingredients and adds a distinctive touch that makes this dish magical!
- So, there you have it: an easy-to-follow Dominican Pollo Guisado!
WHAT DO YOU SERVE WITH POLLO GUISADO DOMINICANO?
Traditionally, it is served with a side of plain white rice, arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas), or arroz con coco, which is a coconut-flavored rice. It also pairs very well with fried plantains, fried sweet plantains, and some salad with avocado on the side.
Personally, I love my Dominican braised chicken with a fresh Ensalada Rusa (Russian Potato Salad). This Dominican Ensalada Russia is especially a good fit. You can also serve it with any kind of flavored or plain rice.
Make sure to check out my guide for cooking perfect fluffy rice. Alternatively, you can just check out the many delicious rice dishes I have on my site.
SHOULD YOU SOAK THE CHICKEN BEFORE COOKING IT?
There is no point in soaking chicken in water before cooking it. Water doesn’t tenderize the meat, it doesn’t add flavor, and it doesn’t really clean it. You can simply rinse it under cold running water if you need it cleaned. Remember to pat the chicken dry before marinating it.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN PULPO GUISADO AND POLLO GUISADO DOMINICANO?
Pulpo means octopus and Pollo means chicken. Therefore, Pulpo Guisado is an octopus stew. And Pollo Guisado is a chicken stew. Both are Latin American staple dishes with many variations.
More Delicious Recipes
Pollo Guisado Dominicano (Dominican Chicken Stew)
- 2 pounds chicken thighs or drumsticks (mix)
- 1/2 lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tsp adobo seasoning
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
- 3 tbsp sofrito mix
- 1 pack sazón goya
- 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into thin slices
- 1/2 white onion, chopped into fine strips
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 tsp brown sugar
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 1/4 cup marinade juice from the chicken
Marinate the Dominican chicken
- To start, add the chicken drumsticks and thighs to a large mixing bowl.
- Squeeze the limes directly over the chicken. Mix the chicken well so it's evenly coated.
- Next, grind some black pepper over the lime chicken. Again, use your hands to cover the chicken with the pepper well.
- Then, add the abodo seasoning, oregano, cayenne pepper, and sofrito. Again, mix these ingredients well using your hands to ensure they cover the chicken pieces well.
- Finally, add the sazón goya and make sure it covers all the chicken very well.
- Next, add the sliced bell peppers, onions, and cilantro. Mix the ingredients well so they are all covered with the dry marinade.
- Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.
Make the Dominican stewed chicken base
- To start, add the oil to a large frying pan or pot. Then, add the brown sugar.
- Allow these ingredients to cook over medium-high heat until the sugar start caramelizing.
- Lower the heat to medium and add the marinated chicken pieces. Don't add the vegetables or marinating liquid yet. That comes later.
- Allow the chicken to cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side. They should get nicely covered in the caramelized sugar mixture and start browning beautifully.
- If the sugar burns too much or the chicken gets to try, add a little bit of the marinating liquid to help loosen it (only a teaspoon at a time).
- Once they are browned sufficiently, add the tomato paste mix once, and then add the water. Mix these two ingredients well so they blend together with the sugar-oil mixture.
Cook the Pollo Guisado Dominicano
- When your base has been created and the chicken has started cooking, add the vegetables and marinating liquid (check the recipe for quantities).
- Give the ingredients a good stir so all the flavors blend together.
- Add the lid to the pot and leave the chicken to cook for roughly 15-20 minutes, or until it is completely cooked.
- Serve the cooked spiced chicken immediately with steamed rice, fresh avocado slices, and a delicious homemade garden salad.