Seco de pollo is a traditional Ecuadorian Chicken stew. This probably is the best chicken stew I have ever had. It is so flavorful, soft and juicy. I am traveling right now in Ecuador. I also found some interesting ingredients and learned new cooking technique.
This is the first Ecuadorian food that I shared- hope to make more in the future. The reason I decided to make it is because this dish is everywhere in Ecuador. It is the most popular dish at least from what I see.
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Seco De Pollo - Chicken Stew Recipe
Ingredients for the Dry Rub:
Ingredients For Stir Fry:
- 3 tbsp of achiote oil Can be switch with chili oil or just regular cooking oil
- 1/2 of onion minced
- 1/2 of green bell pepper minced
- 4 cloves of garlic minced
- 1/4 cup of cilantro stem
- 2 tsp of Aji pepper seco It is a hot chili powder. You can replace it with caryenne
- salt to taste
Ingredients for Vegetable Mix:
- 2 medium-size tomatoes quartered
- 1/2 of a medium size onion cut into chunks
- 1 bunch of cilantro reserve some to add at the end
- 1 bunch of parsley leaves only, reserve some to add at the end
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 2 cups of beer don’t use black beer, I think it will turn out bitter.
- 1/2 cup of orange juice
Other ingredients and Sides:
- Salt and pepper to taste at the end
- 1 big potato cut into chunks
- Yellow achiote rice
- Fried ripe plantains
- Avocado slices
- Small side salad if you have it
- Rub the chicken thighs with 2 tsp of salt, 2 tsp of paprika, 1.5 tsp of pepper and 1 tsp of cumin seed. Let it sit for 30 minutes. I don’t recommend chicken breast because I think chicken breast will become tough and fibery after long time stewing.
- While waiting, let’s quickly make a vegetable mixture. Add 2 medium size tomatoes, 1/2 of a medium size onion, a bunch of parsley, a bunch of cilantro, 4 cloves of garlic in the blender. Pour in 2 cups of beer, 1/2 cup of orange juice.
- Blend everything together until you get a smooth sauce or puree. Set it aside, we will use that later.
- Also, reserve some cilantro and parsley to add at the end.
- Get a pot. Add about 3 tbsp of achiote oil. (I think it is achiote seeds simmered in vegetable oil so the oil is infused with that red color. I am not sure if this is special in Ecuador. If you can’t find this, I think you can try with chili oil. Because achiote has a sort of peppery aroma and It tastes a little bit earthy. Chili oil won’t be exactly the same but it should work fine. )
- Now back to cooking. I am adding 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/2 of minced bell pepper, 1/2 of minced onion. Give them a few stir. Add some diced cilantro stem. You can also use cilantro leaves or parsley leaves here.
- Use medium heat; stir this until the onion becomes transparent.
- Push everything to the side so the chicken will directly touch the bottom. Add the chicken one by one. Let it fry for few minutes on medium heat. When you see the chicken gets that brown color. That is what we are looking for. Flip all the chicken over and fry the other side.
- Pour in the beer & vegetable mixture. Give it a few stir to make sure there is nothing sticking to the bottom.
- Cover it and bring this to a boil. Add 2 tsp of Aji seco powder and some salt. If you cannot find aji seco powder, you can try to mix some paprika with onion and rice powder. The color won’t be exactly the same but I have tried it, it tastes good too.
- Stir the pot and make sure the Aji seco powder is evenly dissolved. Give it a taste to see if it needs more salt. Mine does so I add a little more. Totally, I add about 2.5 tsp of salt here not including the salt that I rub the chicken with.
- Cover it and use the lowest heat to simmer it for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
- Add some potato chunks and let it simmer for 20 minutes more or until the potato is cooked through.
- The last step, add some diced cilantro and parsley. Mix it well and you are done.
- Serve with yellow rice, fried plantains, and avocado. Spoon the sauce over the plate. You are ready to eat.