A delicious stew with tender chicken pieces slowly simmered in a perfectly seasoned tomato sauce and loaded with vegetables, too. Enjoy this Chicken Afritada with some rice and drizzle the sauce all over!
Much like the other Filipino classic dishes namely Adobo, Pansit, and Menudo – the Afritada is also quite popular and is often served at birthdays, weddings and other gatherings. Much like Menudo, Mechado and Kaldereta, Afritada is highly influenced by the “estofado” or Spanish stew.
For Afritada, you can use either Chicken or Pork or even a combination. You can use an entire cut-up chicken or just plain thighs and drumstick. I only had some drumsticks when I made this but feel free to use the chicken parts that you like.
For a change and to add more flavor to the oil where you initially brown the chicken, I added a few bacon pieces. The result as you can imagine, is amazing!
The bacon fat added more flavor to the chicken. Also, while others typically use tomato sauce and simmer the chicken in it for an hour or so, I opt to use regular chopped tomatoes and let the chicken absorb the flavor of real fresh tomatoes.
I think this makes a huge difference in flavor. Instead of a sour sauce, you get a more robust and sweet flavor. I still use some tomato sauce (or ketchup) but this is only added at the end and not in the beginning.
If you are Filipino and have access to Del Monte Ketchup, that is what we use for all our stew because it’s not as tart as the tomato sauce or the regular American ketchup. But if not, tomato sauce or regular ketchup will do – just add a little brown sugar at the end when you add the sauce or ketchup to balance the flavor. It will come out terrific!
Enjoy this delicious Filipino Chicken stew – Afritada with some freshly cooked rice!
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NOTES ON THE INGREDIENTS
(SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR PRINTING & FULL INSTRUCTIONS)
- Chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin on – dark chicken meat is best for this so they can withstand longer cooking without drying up. You may add some chicken breast to the mix if you like.
- Olive Oil – or oil of choice
- Garlic cloves – add more for extra flavor
- Onion – it’s traditional to use shallots in the Philippines so feel free to replace onions with 1-2 red shallots.
- Roma or plum tomatoes
- Fish Sauce – get a good quality fish sauce with no additives (may be replaced with soy sauce)
- Bay leaves – fresh or dried
- Red potato – this holds its shape better than yellow potatoes so I always prefer this
- Red bell pepper
- Del Monte Tomato Ketchup – if you can use Filipino brand which is slightly sweeter then do so. May also be replaced with tomato sauce.
- Green peas
- A little brown sugar – to enhance flavor and reduce acidity
*The vegetables should be relatively the same size so they cook evenly. Please see photo.
- 2.2 lbs (1 kilo) Chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin on (may be seasoned/rubbed with a little salt)
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil, or oil of choice
- 3 strips of Bacon, chopped
- 3-4 cloves Garlic, crushed
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 3 large Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped or diced
- 2 tbsp fish sauce, maybe substituted with soy sauce (but use fish it if you can find and if possible because it adds depth of flavor)
- 1/4-1/3 cup water
- 2 dried Bay leaves
- 1 large Red potato, quartered and then sliced again*
- 1 large red bell pepper, chopped*
- 1 large carrot, chopped*
- ⅓-½ cup Del Monte Tomato Ketchup, or tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
- A little brown sugar, to enhance flavor and reduce acidity
Add the olive oil and bacon in a deep pan or Dutch oven. Let the bacon render its fat. When the bacon has browned and crisped, remove them and set aside. Add the chicken pieces and fry until nicely browned on all sides.
Transfer the chicken to another plate. Set aside.
To the oil that’s left add the garlic and onions. Cook for a couple of minutes and then add the tomatoes. Cook for another 4-5 minutes until the tomatoes soften a bit. Stir the veggies to remove the remaining brown bits on the bottom. Return the chicken to the pan. Add 2 Tablespoon of fish sauce (or salt – not 2 Tablespoons but according to taste) and a little water (about 1/4 -1/3 cup). Add the bay leaves and simmer until chicken is tender. Check after half an hour or so.
While the chicken is cooking prepare the potatoes and carrots. When the chicken is tender, add the potatoes and carrots. Cook for about 10 minutes. While the carrots are cooking, prepare the bell peppers. Chop or slice them in roughly the same size as the carrots and potatoes. Refer to the photos of the chicken afritada for some guidance. Add the bell peppers and continue to simmer for another 5 minutes.
When both chicken and veggies are all tender, add the ketchup or tomato sauce with the green peas and the bacon pieces. Cook until green peas are tender and the sauce is fully heated through. Adjust seasoning, if needed. You may sprinkle a little brown sugar to sweeten or balance the flavor. Enjoy!
TIPS & TRICKS
*Use fish sauce if possible because it adds more flavor and makes it more authentic. To make sure it’s good quality buy only the Thai or Vietnamese variety with no additives.
*The vegetables should be relatively the same size (but bigger cut than menudo style).