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Chicken Afritada

Afritada is a Filipino dish cooked with chicken or pork, or both that is braised then simmered in tomato sauce combined with broth. Hefty quartered potatoes and slices of bell peppers are added while the meat is cooking in the rich stew, thickened with bread crumbs. Sometimes I cook this dish a day or so ahead. After it is reheated the day after, the tomato sauce blend has set and the dish tastes even more superb. Or else, cook it an hour before supper and it is just as sublime. This is an AsianInAmericamag recipe. Serves 2 to 4.

Ingredients

  • 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 whole chopped onion
  • 2 cloves peeled, minced garlic
  • 1.5 to 2 pounds bone-in, about 6 pieces chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon from Asian markets fish sauce (or Filipino 'patis')
  • 1 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups organic chicken broth
  • 2 medium pieces peeled, quartered potatoes
  • 1 large seeded, white membrane removed, sliced bell pepper, red or green
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs plain
  • 2 small sprigs coarsely chopped, about 2 teaspoons, for garnish fresh parsley
  • for serving boiled rice white or brown

Instructions

  • In a large skillet, over medium high heat, add the vegetable oil. When oil is hot enough, after 1 to 2 minutes, add the onions and garlic. Sauté for around 2 minutes till onions are translucent.
  • To the same skillet, add the chicken pieces and brown each one on all sides for about 8 minutes. Pour the fish sauce, tomato sauce, organic chicken broth. Blend liquid ingredients well, making sure some sauce encases the chicken pieces.
  • Add the potatoes and bell pepper slices. Season with sea salt and black pepper. Add bread crumbs to thicken the tomato sauce. Lower heat to a medium low. Cover and simmer for about 55 to 60 minutes or till chicken is thoroughly cooked. Potatoes should be soft by the end of cooking, as well.
  • Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh parsley. Serve with boiled rice, white or brown.
  • Cook's comments: pork shoulder cubes (same size as the quartered potatoes) or a combination of pork and chicken totalling the same amount may be used for this afritada recipe.
  • Ingredient tip: bread crumbs were always added by my mom and aunts to thicken sauces or gravy. I have followed what generations before me did and also add plain, unflavored bread crumbs for a natural way to thicken the sauce.
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