Seco de Pollo: Peruvian Stewed Chicken in Cilantro Sauce

Seco de Pollo. Marian Blazes
  • 60 mins
  • Prep: 15 mins,
  • Cook: 45 mins
  • Yield: 4 servings
Ratings (16)

Seco de pollo is an easy recipe for stewed chicken with peas, carrots and potatoes, cooked together in a delicious cilantro sauce. It is a Peruvian specialty that is also made with beef (seco de res), lamb (seco de cordero) and duck (seco de pato). Served with South American-style rice, seco de pollo is a one-dish meal. It is perfect for entertaining, as it is easy to make ahead; just reheat and serve when ready.

Seco de pollo is considered a "dry stew" because the chicken is first fried and then the sauce is cooked until thick making the stew less "wet" than other recipes. In the northern region of Peru, seco de pollo is typically served with corn tamales.

What You'll Need

  • 4 medium yellow potatoes
  • 3 large carrots
  • 1 large bunch cilantro
  • 4 cups chicken broth (divided)
  • 2 whole chicken breasts (boneless, each cut in half)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons chopped chili pepper (aji amarillo, jalapeno or similar hot chili pepper)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • One 10-ounce bag (2 cups)  frozen peas 
  • Garnish: fresh cilantro leaves 
  • 2 cups of rice (for serving)

How to Make It

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut each into 4 wedges.
  2. Peel the carrots and slice each crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick round pieces. Set aside with the potatoes.
  3. Place the bunch of cilantro in a blender or food processor with 1/2 cup of the chicken broth and process until smooth. Set aside.
  4. Cut each chicken breast half into 3 to 4 pieces. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  5. Melt the butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté chicken pieces just until lightly browned on all sides. Remove chicken to a plate and set aside.
  1. Add the chopped onion, chili pepper, and minced garlic to the saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add the processed cilantro and the remaining 3 1/2 cups chicken broth to the saucepan. Add the carrots and potatoes, and simmer until just tender, about 20 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken pieces and the peas and simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, checking the chicken pieces for doneness often, and remove saucepan from heat once the chicken is just cooked through.
  4. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve over rice.