If you’re a fan of Central American cuisine, you might have come across countless chicken stew recipes, but none quite as delicious and unique as the pan con pollo salvadoreno recipe. This Salvadoran chicken sandwich is a must-try for anyone looking to experience the authentic flavors of El Salvador. This mouthwatering dish is perfect for special occasions, especially during the holiday season, and is a popular choice for New Year’s Eve celebrations. So, let’s dive in and learn how to make this delectable pan con pollo Salvadoreño!
The History of Pan Con Pollo Salvadoreño
Pan con pollo is a traditional Salvadoran sandwich that has been enjoyed for a long time in Central and South America. It’s often compared to its close cousin, panes con pavo, which is a Salvadoran turkey sandwich. Both dishes share a similar preparation method, with the main difference being the type of meat used: chicken for pan con pollo and turkey for panes con pavo.
Ingredients and Variations
While there are various ways to prepare pan con pollo, most recipes call for a flavorful smothered chicken sandwich with a mix of raw vegetables, such as slices of cucumber and rábanos cortados. The main ingredients for the delicious chicken stew typically include chicken legs or breasts, bell peppers, roma tomatoes, olive oil, cloves garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper. Some recipes also add chile guajillo, chile verde, or chile seco for a spicy kick.
Preparing the Chicken
One of the key elements of a tasty pan con pollo salvadoreno recipe is the tender, juicy chicken meat. You can use either white meat (breast) or dark meat (legs, thighs) for this dish. Some people even use a combination of both for added flavor and texture. You can also save time by using a rotisserie chicken or cook the chicken in a food processor for a clever shortcut.
Preparing the Sauce
The sauce is what makes this dish truly special, and the base of my pan con pollo recipe includes tomato sauce, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and spices like oregano and black pepper. To make the sauce, you’ll need to simmer the ingredients in a large bowl or olla grande over medium heat, and then blend them together in a food processor until smooth.
Assembling the Sandwich
Once the chicken and sauce are ready, it’s time to assemble your pan con pollo Salvadoreño. Most people use bolillo rolls or a subway sandwich roll for this dish, but you can also use panes rellenos or even pan de pollo Guatemalteco. To make the sandwich, simply slice the bread in half, spread the sauce on one side, and then layer the chicken and vegetables on top. Finish it off with more sauce and enjoy!
Pan con pollo is often served with a side of crisp vegetables like cucumber, radishes, and even chayote. You can also serve it with a slice of bread pudding for a sweet treat or pair it with a refreshing beverage like an iced blonde vanilla latte from our Iced Blonde Vanilla Latte Recipe.
Enjoying Pan Con Pollo at Salvadoran Restaurants
If you don’t have time to make your own pan con pollo salvadoreno recipe, you can always enjoy this delicious sandwich at Salvadoran restaurants. Many establishments offer their own unique take on this traditional dish, giving you the opportunity to sample different flavor combinations and techniques.
Taking Shortcuts and Making it Your Own
While the traditional pan con pollo salvadoreno recipe can be time-consuming, there are plenty of clever shortcuts you can take to make this dish in a more convenient and accessible way. For example, you can use a rotisserie chicken, pre-made tomato sauce, or even store-bought bread. The key is to find a balance between convenience and authenticity that works for you and your family.
Whether you’re an experienced home cook or new to Salvadoran cuisine, the pan con pollo salvadoreno recipe is a delicious and satisfying dish that’s perfect for holidays, special occasions, or even just a weeknight dinner. With its tender chicken, flavorful sauce, and fresh vegetables, it’s a dish that’s sure to impress your family and friends. Buen provecho!
- 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken breasts or 8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
- 1 large crusty bread loaf or 4-6 individual bread rolls
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 large green bell pepper, finely chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper, finely chopped
- 2 large tomatoes, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 1/4 cup capers, rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup pitted green olives, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Optional toppings: thinly sliced cucumber, radish, lettuce, tomato, and avocado
- Season the chicken: Pat the chicken pieces dry with paper towels and season generously with salt and pepper.
- Brown the chicken: In a large, heavy pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the seasoned chicken pieces, skin-side down, and cook for 5-7 minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Flip the chicken and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
- Sauté the vegetables: In the same pot, add the chopped onion, green bell pepper, and red bell pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables are softened. Add the garlic and cook for an additional 1 minute.
- Add the remaining ingredients: Stir in the chopped tomatoes, cilantro, chicken broth, tomato sauce, capers, green olives, cumin, and oregano. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.
- Simmer the chicken: Return the chicken pieces to the pot, nestling them into the sauce. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the chicken is cooked through and tender. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.
- Shred the chicken: Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the pot and allow it to cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones.
- Assemble the sandwiches: Slice the bread loaf or rolls in half and generously spoon some of the sauce from the pot onto the bottom half. Add a layer of shredded chicken, followed by your choice of toppings, such as cucumber, radish, lettuce, tomato, and avocado. Place the top half of the bread on the sandwich and serve immediately.
This recipe can be made in advance and the chicken and sauce can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat the mixture before assembling the sandwiches.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 520Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 19gCholesterol: 127mgSodium: 878mgCarbohydrates: 37gNet Carbohydrates: 33gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gSugar Alcohols: 0gProtein: 38g