Chicharrones de Pollo (Puerto Rican Fried Chicken)

Chicarrones

I have come to the conclusion that the definition of comfort food is fried food.  Think about it, nothing can make a bad day better than finding a big plate of fried chicken waiting for you, right?  I guess it’s a good thing that not everyday is a bad day, because fried chicken everyday would make for some jiggly bits, and I am not talking about the chicken.  “Yu” know what I mean? UGH, but I loved fried chicken, who doesn’t love fried chicken?  If you say you don’t you lie!

On Sunday afternoons my family would go for long drives through the country and along the coast.  One hour we would be up in the cold brisk mountains and the next we were driving along the coast with the smell of the sea in the air.  We would have whatever local radio station we could pick up playing and 9 times out of 10 my sister was passed out in the back seat.  When lunch time would come around we would wake my sister up, who would usually be grumpy and crabby with a side of drool, and pull over to the first local food stand that we stumbled upon.  These stands would always be nestled in the trees up in the mountains or between the palms along the shore.  The smell of deep fried goodness would strike you as soon as you walked up.  Behind the counter you wouldn’t see the traditional restaurant deep fryer that you would see here in The States.  They would do it old school with a large kettle filled with oil sitting over an open fire.

One of the dishes that I loved to order was “chicharrones de pollo con mofongo”, fried chicken with mashed plantains.  This chicken is crispy on the outside, juice and tender on the inside.  Everything you could ask for in a fried chicken. Everything you could ever want from a comfort food.

Gather together the ingredients for seasoning, white vinegar, olive oil, peppercorns, orange juice, salt, oregano and 3 cloves of garlic.

Chicarrones

Combine all the ingredients in a mortar and pestle or a pilon, which is what we call it in Puerto Rico.

Chicarrones

Take out your frustrations and mash it all together, set aside.  If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can do this in a food processor.

Chicarrones

Take 3 lbs of chicken trim off any excess skin, but do not remove the skin. Cut the chicken into chunks leaving the bone in.

Chicarrones

Using your biggest knife and cut into the flesh until you reach the bone, lay a towel over the back of the knife and pound it until it cuts through the bone.   Do not saw into the bone because it can cause it to splinter.

Chicarrones

Lay the chicken in a glass dish (do not use metal as it could react with the vinegar) and pour seasoning over the chicken, massage the seasoning evenly into the chicken.  Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or over night.

Chicarrones

When ready to prepare chicken, heat enough oil to just cover chicken in a large pot or dutch oven to 400 degrees.

Chicarrones

While the oil heats combine flour, sazon and pepper in a large zip loc bag, shake to combine ingredients.

Chicarrones

In batches, place chicken in flour bag and shake until well coated.

Chicarrones

Shake off excess flour and place on baking grid until all chicken pieces are coated.

Chicarrones

When oil reaches 400 degrees, fry chicken pieces in batches for 3 minutes.

Chicarrones First fry

Remove from oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Chicarrones First Fry

Lower the heat of the oil to 300 degrees and place all chicken back in the pot, cover and fry for 10 minutes.

Chicarrones Second Fry

Remove chicken from oil and drain in paper towel lined plate.

Chicarrones Second Fry

Raise the heat again to 400 degrees, fry the chicken in batches until dark golden brown, without burning.

Chicarrones Last Fry

Remove chicken from oil for the last time and drain on paper towel lined plate.  Ready…..set…..EAT!

Chicarrones 550

A few things about this fried chicken.  Could you fry it without chopping it into chunks, yes but it does take longer to cook.  The goal with this chicken is when you fry it you get a crisp close to crispy pork rinds.  I do not recommend using boneless chicken because the bone is what make the meat juicy and tender.  Removing the bone can cause your chicken to dry out.   Finally don’t skimp on the 3 time fry, it is essential to getting that perfect crisp to the skin.  Mmmmm….

Is this dish a little bit of work, yes.  Is is worth it, absolutely!

So far I have showed you Puerto Rican version of lasagna, chicken fried steak, chicken noodle soup and now fried chicken.  These are just some of my favorite comfort foods.  What is yours?

Print Recipe

Chicharrones de Pollo (Puerto Rican Fried Chicken)  adapted from “Juntos en la Cocina” Carmen Aboy and Luis Valldejuli

Seasoning

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar
  • 2 tsp orange or lime juice
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
  • 2 peppercorns
  • 4 garlic cloves

Chicken

  • 3 lbs bone-in skin on, chicken
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 envelope sazon
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • vegetable oil for frying

Combine all the seasoning ingredients in a mortar and pestle and mash it all together, set aside. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle you can do this in a food processor.

Take 3 lbs of chicken trim off any excess skin, but do not remove the skin. Using your biggest knife cut into the flesh of the chicken until you reach the bone, lay a towel over the back of the knife and pound it until it cuts through the bone. Do not saw into the bone because it can cause it to splinter.  Lay the chicken in a glass dish (do not use metal as it could react with the vinegar) and pour seasoning over the chicken, massage the seasoning evenly into the chicken. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.

When ready to prepare chicken, heat enough oil to cover chicken in a large pot or dutch oven to 400 degrees.

While the oil heats combine flour, sazon and pepper in a large zip loc bag, shake to combine ingredients.  In batches, place chicken in flour bag and shake until well coated.  Shake off excess flour and place on baking grid until all chicken pieces are coated.

When oil reaches 400 degrees, fry chicken pieces in batches for 3 minutes.   Remove from oil and drain on a plate lined with paper towels.

Lower the heat of the oil to 300 degrees and place all chicken back in the pot, cover and fry for 10 minutes.  Remove chicken from oil and drain in paper towel lined plate.

Raise the heat again to 400 degrees, fry the chicken in batches until dark golden brown, without burning.  Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towel lined plate. Ready…..set…..EAT!

Comments

  1. Carlos Torres says

    I’m a puertorrican living in Tennessee and every time I make the chicharrones for my local friends they don’t want to go back to the famous southern fried chicken!!

  2. Johnny Escribano says

    Thank you for this recipe. It looks great. Se me hizo la boca agua. I am goint to try it. Keep up the good work.

  3. Maretta says

    I was just messing around on computer and step into your world and I LOVE IT! am a african american women, and am always looking for something exciting and difference to cook! and I found you, I will be cooking alot now! So, I pray that my husband will get a better JOB so that we will have money to buy what I need to COOK, and by the way, MY Great Dane, say to Thank You in advance. Okay, my Questing is that am making your Chicharrones de Pollo, but How do I make it for 25 to maybe a 100 people? Thank you for your HELP!

  4. Antonia says

    Thank u so very much. Im tryin to raise my daughter to be in touch with our puerto rican roots. She actually loves these more than kfc. Gracias!

  5. says

    Ok, any sentence starting with the word chicharrones will ALWAYS get my attention!!!! This looks so good….I think I’m drooling! I will definitely give this a try!!

  6. Naomi G. says

    Thanks for sharing. It’s funny how a blog can save your marriage, my marriage that is. As they say, love comes from the kitchen, partially true, but if you think about it…it might as well be the backbone.

  7. says

    When I think of comfort food, I think of something cheesy and soft with a slight crunch, like Macaroni and Cheese, or almost any type of dessert haha. I’m not super crazy about fried chicken, but this dish looks fantastic. It also gives me an excuse to take out my mortar and pestle again. Thank you for the great process photos. Now, I’m going to take a look at the other PR-infused dishes you’ve made.

    • says

      It is a seasoning. If you follow the link on the recipe it will explain it for you. It is also in the drop down of “Panty Must Haves”.

  8. says

    My goodness! Right when I was charging your site I was exacty thinking about comfort food… absolutely yummy, sth to forget a long and tiring day… you made my morning Meseidy!

  9. says

    This looks fantastic! To bad I am a freak and won’t eat chicken on the bone. I will just have to use breasts. Fried is the key to happiness…in moderation…but key.

  10. Chrissa says

    This looks fabulous! I enjoyed reading about your Sunday afternoons on the island – I can’t wait until our children are old enough for a visit. One of my favorite comfort foods is mofongo con camerones. I ask my Father in Law to make it for me whenever I can :-)

  11. says

    MMMM, solo le hace falta unos tostones y/o unas ricas aranitas….fritos en el mismo aceite que se frieron los chicharrones, anade saber, y, por que desperdiciar?

  12. Kandyce says

    I was just telling my husband that I wanted to try my hand at making fried chicken, and here is not only a fried chicken recipe, but one with full on Puerto Rican flavors! Thanks, I love finding recipes and already having all the ingredients on hand (well, I don’t have the chicken, but that’s ok!)
    I have a question. I suck at making rice. Do you use a calderon? I have a heavy aluminum pot and I don’t know if it’s the pot or the rice or what. My husband likes his rice drier and separate and I always end up with something that is far too creamy.

    • says

      I use a regular pot. I am ashamed to say I don’t have a caldero. One thing I do is I combine the rice with olive oil and all ingredients minus the rice and toast it a bit. Then make sure you have your rice to water ration right. For 1 cup of rice you need 2 cups of water and so on. I boil my rice uncovered on med-hi until the water has evaporates to where I can start to see the rice, cover it and set it on low until dry and tender. I think toasting the rice up a bit will help. Also what grain of rice are you using, short, medium or long. If you want drier and separate long is better.

      • Kandyce says

        Thanks! I do use jasmine rice which is medium grain, and I thought that might be part of the problem, but the other tips are great too! We use a rice cooker for yellow and white rice and it turns out great, but I really want to make decent arroz con gandules and arroz con pollo. I think my main problem is that I cover my rice too soon. Thanks again!

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