Recipe Index

Portuguese | Portuguese Chicken in a Pot (Frango na Pucará)

Posted on April 1, 2013

So far, I have cooked Portuguese-style chicken in two ways: grilled and roasted. This time, I decided to braise the chicken. I wrote up the recipe as printed in the cookbook The New Portuguese Table, but when I made it, I cut the recipe in half. The sauce turned out really tasty, almost like a barbecue sauce. Serve with potatoes or rice.

Yield: 6 servings

portuguese chicken in a pot


10 ounces pearl onions, a scant 1 inch in diameter

3 tablespoons olive oil, or more if needed

4 1/2 pounds bone-in chicken pieces (breasts, thighs, and legs), patted dry

kosher salt, to taste

freshly ground black pepper, to taste

4 garlic cloves, minced

28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, San Marzano, drained, half the juice reserved, and chopped

2 1/4-inch-thick slices presunto, serrano ham, or prosciutto, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/4-inch cubes

1/3 cup raisins

2 Turkish bay leaves

3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 cup tawny port

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup Aguardente or brandy

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard



Have a bowl of ice water at the ready. Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil, drop in the onions, and blanch for 30 seconds. Scoop them out with a slotted spoon and plop them into the ice water. To peel, snip off the tips and remove the papery outer layers. Set the onions aside.

Heat the oil in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid over high heat until very hot. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper. Working in batches, sear the pieces, skin side down, until golden brown, about 7 minutes. Flip and sear 2 minutes more. Transfer the pieces to a bowl.

Drain off all but a thin film of oil from the pot. If the pot is dry, drizzle in more oil. Lower the heat to medium and plonk in the onions. Cook, stirring often, until well spotted with brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle in the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Nestle in the chicken and add the tomatoes and their juice, the presunto, raisins, bay leaves, and parsley.

Whisk together the port, wine, aguardente, and mustard in a small bowl and pour over the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, covered, turning the pieces to keep them submerged, until the chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.

Heat the broiler. Lift the chicken from the pot using tongs and lay the pieces on a foil-lined baking sheet. Set aside. With a slotted spoon, scoop the tomatoes, presunto, and raisins into a small bowl. Toss out the parsley and bay leaves. Turn the heat under the pot to high and boil to reduce the liquid to 1 1/2 cups, 3 to 5 minutes. Skim any fat from the top.

Meanwhile, zap the chicken under the broiler to crisp the skin, 1 to 2 minutes - watch closely so the pieces don't burn or dry out.

To serve, arrange the chicken in the middle of a large platter and ring with the onions, presunto, and raisins. Pour a bit of the sauce over the top to moisten, and serve the rest on the side.


(Ref. "Chicken in a Pot" recipe, The New Portuguese Table, page 113.)