I grew up cooking Cuban food. And this chicken fricassee recipe is the first one I mastered when I was a teenager. What is a fricassee? It’s more a method of cooking than an actual dish. Fricassee is a French word that means cut up pieces of meat sauteed and then simmered in a sauce. This method is also popular in Spain.
And it’s from there that fricassee found its way to the Spanish Caribbean. Cuban Chicken Fricassee (Fricasé de Pollo) has a tomato base with dry wine.
My first fricassee used turkey instead of chicken and I was so proud of it too! Growing up Cuban in Miami, a traditional turkey dinner wasn’t something I did until I was married to my very American husband. I remember thinking I had bitten off more than I could chew as I was cutting up the turkey, but it came out delicious. Mami tried to take the credit for the turkey fricassee since she’s the one who taught me, but I wouldn’t let her. Lady, it was my trophy turkey!
Some Changes To Mami’s Original Chicken Fricassee Recipe
I used to make this with a cut-up fryer chicken, just like Mami used to make. Nowadays I only use skinless chicken thighs. I find chicken breast to be too dry and drumsticks not as meaty.
My Cuban Chicken Fricassee recipe includes carrots and saffron which my Mom didn’t use. Saffron is not traditional and it’s a pricey spice, so it’s totally optional. I like using it because it gives it such an amazing flavor, similar to paella. I found myself compulsively tasting the sauce when I already knew it was good. So super tasty!!
Some recipes also call for raisins but my crew doesn’t like them. I would definitely recommend you try it at least once with the raisins to see if you like it.
This dish is usually served over white rice, but you can also use brown rice. Or serve it as a stew with some crusty bread for dipping. Make enough for leftovers because this recipe is even better the second day. When my kids were little, I would shred the chicken and mix it with rice. The kids loved it! ¡Buen provecho!
As a teenager, I was so annoyed when my mom tried to take credit for my accomplishments, like making Turkey Fricassee from scratch. I didn’t want to be in her shadow. But now that I’m a parent, I understand my mom was simply excited that I succeeded with her help. Parenting can be so hard sometimes, it’s exhilarating when our kids succeed because that means we also succeeded as a parent. Thank you so much Mami, sorry I was such a brat about the fricassee.
Chicken Fricassee Cuban style is a savory chicken stew served over rice. It’s a very popular Cuban dish that’s easy to make.
- 3 pounds skinless chicken thighs with bones (you can use a mix of chicken pieces including thighs and breast if you prefer)
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1⁄2 cup red bell pepper, diced
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cloves garlic, pressed
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- pinch of saffron threads (optional)
- 2 cups crushed tomatoes
- 1⁄2 cup cooking wine (vino seco)
- 3 tablespoons Spanish olives
- 3 tablespoons raisins (optional)
- 1 cup peeled potatoes cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup peeled carrots cut into 1-inch sections
- Spices: Mix the spices, salt, and pepper in a small bowl.
- Prep: Cut the onions and peppers and crush the garlic.
- Clean and season the chicken: Trim the fat off the chicken. I use kitchen shears for this, it’s so much easier. Pat dry the chicken on paper towels. Sprinkle each chicken piece with the spice mixture and set it aside while you dice the onions and peppers and crush the garlic.
- Brown the chicken: Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown chicken pieces in batches on both sides, 2–3 minutes per side. Use another tablespoon of olive oil for the second batch, if the pan is dry. You don’t want the pieces to stick to the pan. Transfer the browned pieces to a platter and leave the fat in the pan.
- Sautee onions: Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and saute onion, pepper, and garlic over medium heat until softened about 5 minutes.
- Add tomatoes and spices: Add crushed tomatoes, vino seco, bay leaf, and a pinch of saffron and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Add chicken: Add the chicken to the pan again and simmer over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, turn over and add the carrots, cook another 5 minutes.
- Add the vegetables: Add the potatoes, olives, and raisins and cook for 20 minutes more.
Serve over rice or with Cuban bread for dipping into the sauce!
I used to cook this with a regular dutch oven pot, but I recently purchased a Cuisinart Cast Iron Porcelain Casserole and I love it! It doesn’t stick and it’s easier to clean than I expected. And I love how even it heats and how pretty it looks. I’m linking to the one I used for this recipe.
Keywords: chicken fricassee cuban, chicken fricassee, cuban chicken fricasee, what is chicken fricassee