Estofado de pollo (Chicken stew) – The magic of home cooking

Working in the kitchen is like magic. With a few ingredients, the right amount of seasonings and herbs, and some heat (or sometimes not even that), you can make a delicious dish that is much more than the sum of it’s parts. The chicken stew known as estofado de pollo in every Peruvian home, is just another example of this, turning food from simple to rewarding in just a few steps.

This recipe is also versatile enough that it can be made for lunch or dinner, served with rice or pasta, be quickly turned into a vegetarian entree, or even become an enticing sandwich in the blink of an eye. You can change the veggies to get a different dish every time (mushrooms and green beans are good choices); replace the potatoes in the stew with a side serving of mashed potatoes, or if you’re in a luxurious mood, a potato gratin makes another wonderful side dish.

I like to make this chicken stew when the day is chilly. But most of the time I serve myself only the vegetables and white, fluffy rice, covered with the stew sauce. Simply delicious! Sometimes I reserve the chicken for later, and use it to make a sandwich drenched with the tasty sauce, although I have to admit that I prefer to eat this stew as soon as it’s ready, because I don’t like the taste of refrigerated chicken. But that’s just a matter of personal taste.

A lot of people like stews even better after several hours or even the next day, and Peruvians in particular are big fans of what they call calentado. This means «heated», and is the term used for dishes that were eaten for lunch and then reheated again for dinner.

The secret to a great estofado de pollo, is to cook the meat at a very low heat. This way it will be fork tender, and the flavors will meld together to give it its wonderful and comforting taste. You can replace the chicken with beef, duck or lamb, or as I mentioned before, turn it vegetarian / vegan by using mock meat  pieces instead (see picture below).


Estofado de Pollo (Chicken Stew )
Recipe type: Entree
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 4 chicken legs and thighs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • ½ cup sweet wine (optional)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 medium sized yellow potatoes, peeled
  • 1 cup carrots, peeled and cut in thin slices
  • ½ cup green peas
  • ½ cup raisins
  • White fluffy rice or pasta
  • Parsley sprigs
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Sear the chicken pieces until golden, turning once. Transfer to a bowl and reserve.
  3. Add the remaining oil to the saucepan and when hot, add the onion and garlic. Cook at medium-high heat, stirring every few minutes, until soft, about 7 minutes. Add the tomato paste and stir, cooking for 3 minutes.
  4. Put the chicken back in the saucepan, add the wine, bring to a boil, and add the chicken stock and the bay leaf. Cover, lower the heat and cook for 30 minutes.
  5. Add the potatoes, carrots, green peas, and raisins. Continue cooking for 15 - 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
  6. Serve with rice, or as a pasta sauce, and garnish with parsley sprigs.


  1. This looks so delicious and definitely perfect for a chilly day. I have pinned this to my recipes to try one day board– thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow! This would have been perfect for me to serve tonight. I guess I’ll have to run to the grocery store in the morning and see if I can put it together for tomorrow! Thank you for always sharing such yummy goodness.

  3. Making it right now

  4. Could this be modified for a slow cooker? Looks awesome!

  5. The recipe is just great. Arriba Peru !! carajo !!

  6. What s peruvian about this dish ???? It s a simple stew hahaha !!! A beef Stew deriveS from eastern Europe !!!!

    • My husband is Peruvian and I learned to make this hearty, humble chicken stew from my mother in law. It utilizes potatos–very Peruvian. Peru has 4000+ varieties. There’s various variations depending on what part of Peru you are from. Some use aji panca (a dried pepper paste you can buy in Latin American markets) along with the tomato paste–slightly spicy and super flavorful. Some add cilantro in the final stage, and some add delicious Peruvian olives for an extra briny flavor. If you want to make the dish even more Peruvian, I would suggest adding these elements.

      Thanks Peru Delights for posting this hearty stew. My family loves it!

  7. Can I make this with chicken breast instead? I LOVE, ADORE, WORSHIP Peruvian food but am trying to find new ways of cooking that is more in the lower calorie and fat side.

  8. Well, First of all, I wouldn’t worry that you version of this dish is 100% Peruvian as it originally hails from Spain.

    That being said, if the ingredients for your Mushroom Stew (Estofado) is any indication of your Chicken version…I think you have a pretty good handle on the recipe!

    My wife, born in Huancaspata Peru has been making her Estofado just like this for years. She, like her mother, and her mother’s mother (all of them being 100% Peruvian), add ingredients that seem to be traditional to their family…namely a good tablespoon of paprika…and they rarely add wine.

    This is like any other “stew” produced on the planet. Ya put in it what ya got! You want Gummi bears in it? Although not my first choice…knock yourself out.

    So, don’t worry about any food Nazis that want to nit pick your recipe…you’re doing fine!

  9. I tried this recipe a couple of nights ago and it was a total hit.
    Thank you so much for sharing it!

  10. Que rico! Being a Peruvian myself I enjoy this dish so much. Thank you for posting!

  11. I made this for my Peruvian husband. His eyes lit up when he saw it and even my picky 11 year old was impressed. Clean plates all around and bonus points for me! Thanks for the great recipe!


  1. […] Estofado de pollo (chicken stew) is one of the dishes Peruvian cooks make at home on a regular basis. This simple yet extremely tasty dish is healthy, satisfying, and easy to prepare, making it a favorite of people of all ages and backgrounds. Many countries have their own versions of a homey chicken stew, and we can’t say the idea is 100% Peruvian; but wherever it initially came from, this recipe is now a Peruvian staple, that’s for sure. […]

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