This Puerto Rican Pollo en escabeche is one of many great recipes done in an escabeche style. The flavor is a mix between savory and sour. Done in 30 minutes or less, making this a perfect weeknight recipe.
Pollo en Escabeche translates to chicken escabeche. The escabeche was a pickling method used in Roman times as a way of preserving fish. They use vinegar, oil, and brine.
This technique spread throughout the Mediterranean and then to Latin America during the colonization. Each time changing. But sharing a vinegar base which is the main flavor of the recipe.
Nowadays is used as a preparation method rather than a preserving method.
Best chicken cuts for escabeche
I use chicken thighs because they tend to be the juiciest part of the chicken. You can also use any part of the chicken you like. Use drumsticks or wings and follow the recipe. A popular choice is chicken breast. But you must half each breast to make sure they cook all the way through.
- Chicken thighs- I use boneless chicken thighs. You can use the whole chicken thigh, is just a preference.
- Seasonings- The seasonings for an escabeche are very basic and consist of salt, black pepper, onion, and garlic powder.
- Oil- I used vegetables but olive oil is also used.
- Green pepper- I used green pepper but any color pepper will be great to use in this recipe.
- Onion- I used a yellow onion. You can also use white or red onion.
- Garlic- I used 1 ½ teaspoon of minced garlic. I like measuring the garlic because the cloves could be too small or too big.
- Bay leaf- I used 3 bay leaves. They are essential for an escabeche taste.
- Black peppercorn- I used 1 teaspoon of black peppercorn but to tell you the truth they are there for flavor because I don’t eat them.
- Vinegar- I used ¼ cup of white vinegar.
How to make it
Step 1: Chop all your vegetables into strips that are about ¼ inch thick. You can roughly chop them bigger but not too thin to avoid burning.
Step 2: Cut the thighs in half. If your thighs are big in size you can cut them into 3 pieces.
Step 3: Grab a bowl to add the chicken and season with salt, ground pepper, garlic, and onion powder. Give it a good mix until is well seasoned.
Step 4: Pan-fry the thighs in ¼ cup of the oil for 10 minutes per side. This will give the chicken a nice golden crust. Remove the chicken from the pan while we prepare the escabeche.
Step 5: Saute the veggies, bay leaves, and black peppercorns. We just want to do this for 3 minutes because we still want a slight crunch on the veggies.
Step 6: Turn off the heat and add the rest of the oil, vinegar, thighs and mix. You can enjoy it right away.
- Be careful not to bite into the black peppercorns, not everyone likes how they taste. You can cook the escabeche and then remove them to avoid this.
There are many variations around the world of this dish. For example, the Spanish recipe is made with white wine and paprika for color. In Latin countries, is made with achiote oil and some type of chile for spice. As far as vegetables, you can add carrots thinly sliced, or olives.
When storing keep in mind that the recipe has a strong smell that plastic easily can retain. That is why I suggest using a glass or ceramic container. Use an airtight container. This is useful to keep any smells from getting to the chicken and especially from getting out into your fridge. Keep for no more than 5 days in your fridge and freeze for no more than a month.
Frequently Asked Questions
There is no right way of eating the escabeche. It can be eaten both hot or cold. This is because it can be served hot as a main meal or shredded cold as an appetizer.
More delicious dinner recipe ideas
💬 Do you have any questions or comments on this Pollo en Escabeche recipe? Leave your questions or comments below and I’ll reply!
Pollo en Escabeche (pickled chicken)
- 1 pound boneless chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ cup oil
- ¼ green pepper
- ½ large onion
- 1 ½ teaspoon minced garlic 3 cloves
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- Cut the green pepper and onion into ¼-inch long strips and set aside.
- Remove any excess fat from the chicken. Cut each thigh into 2 pieces. Add chicken to a big bowl. Add salt, pepper, onion, and garlic powder and mix.
- In a large pan over medium-high heat add ¼ cup of oil. Place the chicken in the pan and cook for 10 minutes on each side. Remove chicken from the pan and set aside.
- In the same pan add the green pepper, onion, garlic, bay leaves, black peppercorn and the other ¼ cup of oil. Cook for 3 minutes. Shut off the heat, add the vinegar and mix everything together.
- Add the chicken and mix in with the vegetables. Serve and enjoy.
- This recipe uses boneless chicken thighs but you can use any cut of the chicken you like. You can use drumsticks or chicken wings. You will cook them following the recipe time.
- You can also use chicken breast and you must cut them in half.
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