Chicken afritada

9 10 2011

The perfect bell peppers in red, green and orange, from Cold Storage.

IT’S BEEN raining almost everyday here in Singapore that it’s starting to feel like Seattle.  I’ve been staying up really late into the night, losing sleep too.  So yeah, it’s like Seattle ‘round here.

But I’ve never been the type to sulk.  So what do I do in a situation like this?  I go to the kitchen and cook.  I swung the refrigerator door open and realized one thing – I’ve never been to the grocery for quite a while.

So one rainy early evening just off from work, I walked into Cold Storage, saw the most beautiful bell peppers I’ve ever seen – in a rainbow of red, green and orange – and knew exactly what I wanted to make.

These bell peppers were so beautiful I didn't want to cook them!

One of my serious comfort dishes is called chicken afritada.  They would always make it perfect back home in the Philippines.  And they know exactly what I truly love about it – the sauce and the bell peppers added just a mere couple of minutes before the flame is turned off.  I would spoon the sauce generously on to steaming hot white rice, and heap the bell peppers on top of it.  Instantly, it’s like having my favorite blanket wrapped around me on a chilly night.  I would be warm and comforted.

But it's inevitable that I'd cook with them because, after all, they inspired the evening's dish. Here are the bell peppers with the root aromatics garlic and onion, and some "washed" potatoes from Australia.

 

Bell peppers on the chopping block, I mean, board.

 

A tighter shot of these beauties.

 

Washed, with the stems, ribs and seeds taken out. These are good to go!

I think “afritada” is one of those words that don’t really translate to English.  But the dish chicken afritada can be easily described as a chicken stew with potatoes and bell peppers in tomato sauce.  It’s very Filipino, but I highly suspect it to be of Spanish provenance.

To make my chicken afritada, you will need chicken (wing, breast, thigh and leg parts), half a head of garlic, a large white onion, a 14.5-oz. can of Hunt’s diced tomatoes, three small cans of Hunt’s tomato sauce, potatoes, and bell peppers.  (Though the Flash would always tell people that I would keep to myself whenever I’m cooking, appearing not wanting to be bothered, it’s actually quite the opposite.  I fancy myself as the host of my own cooking show.  And the “garbage” bowl beside my chopping board is testament to the fact that I’ve seen a lot of Rachael Ray’s 30-Minute Meals.)

Start with a low flame and use a pot that is wider rather than deeper (which we don’t have a home).  Coat the bottom with a thin film of vegetable oil.  Sauté the (finely) minced garlic.  Doing a lot of chopping and prep work while already having something on the burner could pose quite a challenge.  Just make sure to keep an eye on the sauté and not allow the garlic to brown.

Sauté the garlic in a thin film of vegetable oil.

Add the large onion, finely diced.  Cover the pot for a short while to allow the onions to sweat, become translucent, release some of its natural sugars and become sweet.  Again, no browning!

Add the finely diced large white onion.

Once the garlic and onions have cooked down, make a well in the center.

The garlic and onion have cooked down. Make a well in the center to sear the chicken pieces.

Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, making sure to make only one layer.  I made a huge pot so I had to work in batches, searing the chicken as much as I could.

I realized we didn't have a wide-bottomed pot, so I had to work in batches, making sure that I would only have one layer of chicken at a time.

As you can see, the chicken let out a lot of its juices.

These are juicy chicken pieces.

Add a little water just enough to cover and bring it to a simmer.  Then, pour in the diced tomatoes.  (This is my own tweak to the recipe.  I want a chunky sauce, an homage to when this dish was made with only fresh tomatoes available).  At this point, I started with the steamed rice so that both would be ready at about the same time.

I'm partial to Hunt's and I love their diced tomatoes!

 

The diced tomatoes are in!

After the chicken has been simmering for about 10 minutes, add the quartered or halved potatoes and the tomato sauce.

Pour in the tomato sauce. I used a total of three small cans.

 

The potatoes I got were Australian, already perfectly washed, and with barely a skin on them. I thought about dunking them in as is, but since I was sharing the dish with my housemates and friends, I thought I'd peel them just to be sure.

 

The potatoes are peeled!

 

...Halved, then added to the pot!

Check the chicken and the potatoes for doneness.  Once the potatoes are fork tender (takes about 10 minutes or so), that’s the time you add in the bell peppers.  Adjust the seasoning if needed (probably just a pinch of salt).  Cover the pot and allow to simmer for at most five more minutes.  Nothing more!

The bell peppers are ready to be sliced into wedges.

 

These bell peppers breathe life and meaning to the fact that we eat with our eyes first.

 

Finally, the bell peppers are added!

The chicken afritada is now ready to hit the table!

Dinner is served!

 

What's not to love?

 

It's even better the day after it's made. And this shot was taken the day after!

 

This dish is inspiring me to cook more often.

 

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.

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3 responses

9 10 2011
Capt. A

*Seattle pronounced as ‘Shatel.’

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9 10 2011
proarcher

Thanks for sharing this super yummy food 🙂 Now, I am already looking forward for Beef Mechado.

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3 11 2011
kialeh

i think you can work out to publish a cooking receipt.hehe

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