Home Caribbean Puerto Rican Pollo en Fricasé: A Taste of Puerto Rican Comfort

Pollo en Fricasé: A Taste of Puerto Rican Comfort

The History and Evolution of a Beloved Traditional Dish

Pollo en Fricase ~ Chicken Fricassee Recipe Card
Pollo en Fricase ~ Chicken Fricassee Recipe Card

If you’re in the mood for some hearty comfort food, look no further than Pollo en Fricasé, a traditional Puerto Rican chicken stew. This dish features succulent chicken pieces in a savory tomato-based sauce, accompanied by tender potatoes, briny capers, and aromatic cilantro.

To make this dish, start by marinating the chicken in a flavorful mixture of adobo spice seasoning, olive oil, and garlic. After 30 minutes, brown the chicken pieces in a large pot, then set them aside. In the same pot, sauté onion, red bell pepper, and cilantro until tender. Deglaze the pot with red wine, then add diced tomato and tomato paste. Return the chicken to the pot along with olives, potatoes, carrots, and bay leaves. Simmer until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened.

Pollo en Fricasé is best served over a bed of fluffy white rice, but you can also enjoy it with crusty bread or plantains. This dish is perfect for a family meal or for sharing with friends. Plus, you can save time by chopping and dicing all the ingredients ahead of time.

Experience the warmth and comfort of Puerto Rican cuisine with this delicious recipe.

Origins and Evolution of Pollo en Fricasé: Tracing the History of a Beloved Puerto Rican Dish

Pollo en Fricasé is a traditional Puerto Rican dish that has been enjoyed by generations of families. Its history can be traced back to the Spanish colonial period, when Spanish settlers brought their culinary traditions to the island. The dish is believed to have originated in the south of Spain, where it was known as “frixtura,” a type of stew made with chicken or rabbit, potatoes, and spices.

When the dish was introduced to Puerto Rico, it underwent some changes and adaptations to suit the local ingredients and tastes. For example, Puerto Rican cooks replaced rabbit with chicken, which was more readily available on the island. They also added ingredients like olives, capers, and tomato sauce to give the dish a more complex flavor.

Over time, Pollo en Fricasé became a staple of Puerto Rican cuisine, and today it is considered one of the country’s national dishes. It is often served at family gatherings and special occasions, and it remains a favorite comfort food for many Puerto Ricans both on the island and in the diaspora.

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Pollo en Fricasé ~ Chicken Fricassee

The ultimate comfort food is a traditional Puerto Rican chicken stew that's served over white rice. A savory tomato-based sauce, paired with fluffy potatoes, briny capers, and tender chicken, this is true comfort in a bowl.
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Keyword Chicken
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Marinating Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 55 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Mike Gonzalez


  • 3 lbs chicken pieces bone-in and skinned
  • 3 tsp adobo spice seasoning
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 tbsp garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • ½ red bell pepper diced
  • ¼ cup cilantro minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 14 oz diced tomato
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 12 olives stuffed with red pimentos halved
  • 6 small golden potatoes halved
  • 3 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • salt to taste


  • Combine chicken, adobo, 2 tablespoons olive oil, and garlic. Toss until well combined, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
    3 lbs chicken pieces, 3 tsp adobo spice seasoning, 2 tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp garlic
  • In a large heavy pot heat 1 tablespoon olive oil, add chicken brown evenly on all sides. Remove from oil and set aside. In the same pot add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, onion, bell pepper, and cilantro, sauté for 4 minutes or until translucent.
    3 lbs chicken pieces, 2 tbsp olive oil, ½ red bell pepper, 1 onion
  • Add red wine to deglaze the pot, scraping up all the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Stir in diced tomato and tomato paste.
    1 cup red wine, 14 oz diced tomato, 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • Return the chicken to the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Raise heat to bring to a boil, lower to a simmer and cover.
    3 lbs chicken pieces, 1 onion, ½ red bell pepper, ¼ cup cilantro, 14 oz diced tomato, 2 bay leaf, 12 olives stuffed with red pimentos, 6 small golden potatoes, 3 large carrots, salt
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until chicken is tender. Uncover and simmer for 15 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken.
  • Serve over white rice.


Save lots of time by chopping, dicing and cubing everything ahead of time.
Be sure if you use potatoes, to place them in cool water, so they won’t lose their color.
If you want to use frozen veggies, be sure to have them ready and cook them according to the packaging instructions. You can substitute the water you boiled the frozen veggies instead of plain water.

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Did You Know

Julia Child in Mastering the Art of French Cooking describes Fricasé as “halfway between a sauté and a stew” in that a saute has no liquid added, while a stew includes liquid from the beginning. In a fricassee, cut-up meat is first sauteed (but not browned), then the liquid is added and it is simmered to finish cooking. 

Cookbook author James Peterson notes that some modernized versions of the recipe calls for the meat to be thoroughly browned before braising, but the classical version requires that both meat and vegetables remain with no caramelization.

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