Dominican Republic - Pollo Guisado
Yum, what a great meal. Justin and I both thought this would be really spicy, just from initial pictures we saw of this dish, but on the contrary! None of the ingredients for this dish indicate any spice level at all, so if you're a fan of spicy food, feel free to add cayenne or chili powder somewhere in the recipe. But I promise you, it's not necessary. The braised chicken is packed full of flavor already.
I find myself in habit of making very heavy meat dishes and not balancing them with sides (oops). So Justin challenged me to start incorporating some vegetable sides to balance out the meal, which is what I attempted to do with this meal. I made a watermelon salad and some black beans with diced tomatoes. The black beans are a perfect accompaniment to almost any meal, but the watermelon salad was definitely something to write home about! It was light and so flavorful, and really balanced out the acidity (from the tomatoes) of the braised chicken.
2 lbs chicken thighs (optional: chopped)
1 small red onion (sliced)
2 stalks celery (chopped)
3 garlic cloves (chopped)
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp sugar
4 tomatoes cut into quarters
2 green bell peppers (sliced)
1/4 cup of seedless olives cut into halves (optional)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 bunch cilantro (chopped)
Feel free to chop the chicken if you want bite-sized pieces. I kept them whole. In a bowl, add the chicken, onion, celery, and garlic, and squeeze the lime juice over all the ingredients. Season with oregano, salt, and pepper and mix well. Let it sit for about 30 minutes.
In a pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the teaspoon of sugar and wait until it starts to caramelize just a little bit. Add only the chicken and brown on all sides. Remove from the pan and add the other ingredients from the bowl (onion, celery, olives, and garlic), tomatoes, green bell peppers, and olives. Add about 2 tablespoons of water to deglaze the pan, while continually stirring. After about 5 minutes, add the chicken back in.
Add the tomato sauce and water to the pot and give it a good stir. Cover the pot and let it braise for about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and stir in the chopped parsley.
I served this with white rice, watermelon salad, and black beans. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Dominican Cooking.