Pollo a la Dominicana

There are really two sides of this recipe which are equally important. The marinade part and the cooking part. The marinade part is the part of the recipe where the base flavors will start infusing the chicken. This includes the flavors of traditional sofrito, that flavor base traditionally used in Latin American cooking. So I went ahead and started my marinade part early this morning. The key to this dish is to give the chicken enough time to soak in the flavors of this marinade, which includes: onion, garlic, cubanelle peppers, oregano, lime, adobo, sour orange, salt and pepper. It is basically a deconstructed sofrito.

I recommend you marinade the chicken overnight but you can do it early in the morning like I did and it will be ready by the time you start working on dinner later that day.

So that is part one.

Now we can move on to part two, which is the actual cooking or braising. I like to use a heavy pot or dutch oven. I heat up some oil and add brown sugar. You want to heat up the sugar until it starts to melt so keep your eyes on it because it happens fast. You don’t want it to burn! Once you see it starting to bubble up you will add the chicken pieces to the sugar. You want to turn the chicken pieces around in the pot until they are covered in sugar and start to sear to a golden hue.

Once you can see an outer crust forming on the chicken, you can lower the heat and add the remaining ingredients you used in the marinade. Stir everything together and add the liquid. In this case, I have chosen chicken broth. But you can choose veggie broth, wine or even water. You want to cover the chicken with the liquid. Add the tomato sauce as well as the roma tomatoes. And give it a good stir.

And that’s it. You’re going to let this hang out for about 45 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked and liquid has been reduced. Sometimes I leave it for alittle longer and feel like you get even deeper flavor. Once it ready, you can add the sweet corn and let it cook for five more minutes until tender. Right before serving, I like to add green olives, to add a little brightness to the dish. I like the olives with the pimentos because it reminds of home but you can use any kind of green olive.

Pollo Guisado is really amazing served hot off the stove with rice and beans and some fried plantains, a green salad. Yum! But it is also a phenomenal leftover you can add to a bed of hummus with some pita bread for next days’ lunch or toss into a burrito with some cheese and avocado for a light dinner. Enjoy!

Dominican Pollo Guisado


-2 lbs boneless chicken thighs

-1 white onion thinly sliced

-1 chopped cubanelle pepper (or green pepper)

-1 bunch of fresh cilantro chopped

-1 tablespoon dried oregano

-3 garlic cloves minced

-1 lime

-1 Sour Orange (or ¼ cup sour orange marinade)

-1 tablespoon Adobo or sazón powder

-2 tablespoons of Olive oil

-2 tablespoons brown sugar

-1 tablespoon Tomato paste

-2-3 chopped roma tomatoes

-4 cups chicken broth

-1/2 cup frozen sweet corn

-1/4 cup green pimento-stuffed olives


1. Marinate chicken overnight (or @ 8 hrs) in a mixture of white onion, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, oregano, sour orange, salt & pepper, adobo, olive oil

2. Heat up olive oil over medium heat

3. Add brown sugar until melted and bubbly

4. Add marinated chicken to pot and sear both sides until it is golden

5. Add leftover marinade ingredients, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste

6. Add broth to cover the chicken and reduce heat to low

7. Cook for @45 minutes or until chicken is tender, replenishing liquid if it gets too low

8. Add sweet corn and cook for 5 min (optional)

9. Add green olives before serving (optional)

10. Serve with rice and beans and salad or heat up the next day and pile on top of hummus with some pita for a quick and nourishing lunch

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