If there’s a dish that’s always a hit in our home, it’s Ecuadorian Seco de Pollo. This dish is a chicken stew that uses refrito as a base and is cooked in chicha (a fermented drink).
in 1981, my mother moved from Ecuador to Canada. Although as a result, I am Canadian, I grew up experiencing much of the culture. Seco de Pollo is one of those foods I would normally come home to from school. It’s a warm and comforting meal that never fails to satisfy.
What is Chicha?
The traditional preparation uses a fermented corn drink called Chicha. Chicha is a popular alcoholic drink from Latin America, especially in the Andes region. In our home, we have Chicha thanks to my Aunt who brings it to us straight from Ecuador, but for those who don’t have the hookup, beer is an acceptable replacement.
In my mother’s version of Seco de Pollo, we use cayenne pepper but traditionally, aji Peruano is used. Truthfully, I have never been one for spice. I enjoy a small kick and that’s about it so I stick to the cayenne pepper. But if you’re up for it, you can use something stronger.
This recipe is super simple and easy to make. Especially on those days where you don’t want to do much but want to eat something really good. I know I have many days where I’ve been so busy running after my kids and realize last minute that dinner time is sneaking up around the corner. Yup, this is my secret weapon.
Before you make this delicious stew, don’t forget to make your rice! An Ecuadorian staple!
I hope you enjoy this Ecuadorian Seco de Pollo recipe and that it gives you the same warm and comforting feeling that it gives me!
Have you ever tried Ecuadorian cuisine? Or do you prepare Ecuadorian Seco de Pollo in a different way? Let me know in the comments!
- 3/4 Cups of Refrito/Sofrito*
- 3 Chicken Breasts**
- 3 Tbsp Chicha*** or a Mild Beer
- 4 Tbsp Tomato Paste
- 1/4 Tsp Cayenne Pepper
- 1/4 (or more) Cilantro
- Lemon Wedge
- Salt to Taste
- To make this delicious, comforting Ecuadorian dish, begin by liquefying 3/4 cups of refrito. Blend until it becomes like a sauce.
- Next, take your chicken breasts and cut them into large chunks. Add both the refrito and the chicken chunks to a pot and set it on the stove with a lid over medium-low heat. Watch that it doesn't boil just yet.
- When the chicken is partially cooked, add just enough water to cover the chicken and place the lid back on. Set the temperature to medium and bring to a boil.
- Once the stew begins to boil, add the chicha (or beer), tomato sauce, cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Allow the stew to simmer until the liquid reduces and thickens a bit.
- Finally, once your chicken is cooked through and the stew is a good consistency, remove the pot from the heat and add cilantro to the stew while it is still hot and salt to taste.
- Serve over rice.
*Refrito or Sofrito is a mixture of sauteed onions, tomatoes, garlic, peppers and spices and acts as a base for many Latin American dishes
**We use chicken breast in my house but you can easily substitute chicken breast for any other part of the chicken