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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2.2 lbs / 1 kilo Chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin on (may be seasoned/rubbed with a little salt)
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
3 strips of Bacon, chopped
3-4 Garlic cloves, crushed
1 medium onion, chopped
3 large Roma or plum tomatoes, chopped
2 Tablespoons, Fish Sauce*
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*
1/3 – 1/2 cup Del Monte Tomato Ketchup (or tomato sauce)
1/2 cup green peas
A little brown sugar
*May be substituted with salt instead though the Fish sauce adds more flavor.
*The vegetables should be relatively the same size (but bigger cut than menudo style).
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. 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!
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