Chicken stew with tomato or pollo con tomate consists of chicken, tomato, onion, Italian pepper and garlic. It can also include paprika, stock to enrich the sauce and our omnipresent majado: a traditional paste of garlic, parsley and coarse sea salt mashed in a mortar and diluted with wine or stock.
This mellow and savory fare is one of the most traditional recipes in Spain. This chicken stew was always essential in the repertoire of any housewife or in the popular daily menu of our famous bars. So it would be impossible for this dish not to enter our list of favorites.
This simple and delicious recipe can be prepared with only five ingredients: chicken, garlic, tomato, pimentón (Spanish smoked paprika) and olive oil, just like Alicia from Cuenca —my mother-in-law— used to prepare it… Mark my words, the flavor of the tomato and the chicken becomes pure and intense using only those few ingredients.
Our version of this tapa is enriched with onion, green pepper and a homemade chicken stock; some people may use chicken bouillon cubes, but we —in the name of healthy ingredients— will not commit such sacrilege. Also, a majado is added for a truly luscious stew. Do not doubt us: make a tapa of pollo con tomate and you will see what a glorious dish it is.
- 2 tbps (20g) garlic, sliced
- ⅓ cup (80ml) olive oil
- 2 pounds (1 kilo) free-range chicken
- 2 ¼ cups (275g) onion, diced
- ½ cup (60g) green Italian pepper, diced
- 1 pound (500g) tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- 2 cups (500ml) chicken stock
- 3 sprigs of parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp sweet pimentón (smoked paprika), optional
- 1 pinch of coarse sea salt
- ½ cup (125ml) white wine or chicken stock
- Salt, black pepper and sugar to taste
- Parsley to garnish
- Cut the chicken into either large or small pieces. See our recommendation below the step-by-step photos.
- Place the garlic and the olive oil in a round cast iron or heavy-bottomed casserole and stir-fry over medium-low heat, but take care not to burn the garlic.
- Take the garlic out with a slotted spoon and set aside.
- Fry the chicken skin-side down, on high heat and batches, until the skin is golden and crispy. Turn the pieces over so that they are browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon, and drain on paper towels, reserving drippings in casserole.
- Add the onion, poach it for three minutes over low heat and add the Italian pepper. Cook for five minutes or until onion is wilted.
- Add the tomatoes and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until their juices have evaporated almost completely.
- Pour the chicken stock, add the fried pieces of chicken along with the bay leaves and the sprigs of parsley (make a bouquet garni if you like). Toss with a wooden spoon and cook for about 30 minutes.
- Five minutes before ending the stew, mash the fried garlic slices in a mortar along with the smoked paprika, if using, and the pinch of coarse sea salt. Make a paste and add the wine or chicken stock. Mix and pour it in the casserole.
- Season with salt, black pepper and sugar (to lower the tomato´s acidity) and let cook it for five minutes longer.
- Turn off the heat, take the bay leaves and parsley out and let the chicken with tomato rest one whole day before serving for the flavors to develop.
Tips for pollo con tomate or chicken stew with tomato
- If you are going to serve this delicious chicken stew as a tapa, we recommend you to cut the chicken into small pieces.
- Thighs and drumsticks are the best pieces for stewing, they always keep tender and juicy after cooking.
- Are you worried about the cholesterol content in your dishes? Then we advise you to skin the chicken for this stew; you can also bone it if you like.
- Fresh ripe plum tomatoes are a good choice for this recipe, however, we recommend using whole and peeled preserved tomatoes such as Roma or San Marzano. You can use diced or pureed tomato as well.
- The key to success for this simple but wonderful dish is that the tomato gives away its natural juices as much as possible so that the flavor concentrates and the sauce gets a bright and deep red color. Do not dare to put a lid on the casserole, just let the juices evaporate.
- You can add more stock or water if the chicken is not yet cooked through and the sauce dries out too much.
- Take the onion and the Italian pepper out if you want to make my mother-in-law’s recipe. Try also using a clay cooking pot.
Finally, serve this mouthwatering pollo con tomate or chicken stew with tomato in a serving dish along with a basket full of fresh and crusty pieces of bread. Also, if you want to set up a genuine table of tapas from Spain do not forget to serve this chicken stew along with a Spanish potato omelette, fried monkfish or calamares a la romana… Enjoy it!