Seco de pollo or chicken stew

Yield: For 8-10 people

Seco de pollo or seco de gallina is a South American chicken stew cooked slowly in a sauce of beer, onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, herbs and spices. Seven out of seven Downings recomend this dish. 


  • 6 lbs of assorted chicken pieces
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 2 red onions, quartered
  • ½ red onion, minced for refrito
  • 10 whole garlic gloves plus 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp ground achiote or annatto
  • 4 cups of beer or apple cider 
  • 8 tomatoes, quartered
  • 3 bell peppers, quartered
  • 1 hot pepper (jalapeno or serrano)
  • 1 bunch cilantro, reserve some to add at the end
  • 1 bunch parsley, reserve some to add at the end
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste 


  1. Blend the beer, quartered onions, whole garlic cloves, tomatoes, bell peppers, hot pepper, cilantro, parsley, oregano and cumin to obtain a smooth puree.
  2. In a large saucepan or soup pot heat the oil over medium heat to prepare a refrito or sofrito, add the minced red onion, minced garlic and achiote, cook for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken and brown lightly on each side, add the blended puree mix
  4. Cook on low heat until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has thickened. Unless it’s a hen, the chicken should be tender in less than 1 hour. However it takes longer for the sauce to thicken, so if the chicken is very tender – meat falling of the bones – and the sauce isn’t thick yet, then remove the tender chicken pieces, turn up the heat and cook the sauce until it’s nice and thick, about 20-30 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add the remaining cilantro and parsley.
  7. Enjoy

Love, D4ECCD47-B129-414B-BF02-BA067946B94BThe Downing Family

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