Asopao de Pollo






1 tablespoon lard or canola oil

1 teaspoon annatto seeds (optional)

1 recipe Sofrito

2 medium smoked ham hocks (1 to 1 1/2 pounds total)*

4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth

8 medium bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks, skinned (about 2 1/2 pounds)

1/2 cup long grain rice

1 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup pimiento-stuffed green olives, coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons drained capers

2 unripe (firm and green) plantains (optional)**

Vegetable oil for frying

Fresh cilantro sprigs

  1. In a 6- to 8-quart Dutch oven*** heat lard over medium heat. Add annatto seeds (if using). Cook 1 to 2 minutes or until fragrant and oil is a deep red color. Immediately remove the seeds from the oil; discard seeds.
  2. Add Sofrito to the hot oil. Cook 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add ham hocks and chicken broth. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Add chicken; return to a simmer. Cook, covered, 30 to 35 minutes more or until chicken is no longer pink (180 degrees F). Remove chicken and ham hocks from the pan to a cutting board. Set aside until cool enough to handle.
  3. Add rice to the pan. Return to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, 15 minutes or until rice is tender. Meanwhile, remove chicken and ham from the bones; shred meat. Discard any fat from ham.
  4. Add shredded chicken and ham, tomatoes, peas, olives, and capers to pan. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat 10 minutes.
  5. If desired, for fried plantains, use a sharp knife to cut off the ends of the plantains and score the skin on four sides. Use your finger to pry the skins loose. Cut peeled plantains into 1/2-inch slices. In a deep large skillet heat 1/2 inch of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add plantain slices, half at at time, and fry 2 to 3 minutes or until lightly browned, turning once. Remove plantains; drain on paper towels.
  6. Serve stew topped with fried plantains and fresh cilantro.

From the Test Kitchen

If desired, substitute 8 ounces chopped cooked smoked ham for the ham hocks. Omit the 20 minute cook time for the ham hocks in step 2.


It’s important to use green plantains for this recipe. To more easily peel plantains, trim off ends and cut a few slits in skin from end to end. Push thumb under skin and peel it off in sections.


If your dutch oven doesn’t have a lid, covering it with foil will work just as well.


1 small red sweet pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut up

1 medium banana pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut up

1 cup fresh cilantro

1 medium onion, cut up

1/4 cup canola oil

6 cloves garlic, halved

  1. In a food processor, combine sweet pepper, banana pepper, cilantro, onion, oil, and garlic. Cover and pulse until mixture is very finely chopped, but not pureed.

Nutrition Facts (Asopao de Pollo)

Per serving: 622 kcal , 32 g fat (6 g sat. fat , 11 g polyunsaturated fat , 14 g monounsaturated fat ), 149 mg chol. , 992 mg sodium , 45 g carb. , 5 g fiber , 15 g sugar , 40 g pro.