Chicken pastel is not something I would cook every day as it has many ingredients. But as I was going through the ref and my pantry, I realized I had most of the ingredients to make it. I just had to run to the grocery for three ingredients: bell pepper, carrot, and Chorizo de Bilbao.
Before leaving, I brought the chicken out to thaw. As I was driving to the grocery, in my head, I was going “Pastel or Curry” over and over, and I decided that if I could not find the Chorizo de Bilbao, that meant that I would be making curry. I had an idea of where it could be, so I went straight to that section and immediately saw it … hanging below the Chinese Chorizo and Chorizo Macau. Decision made!
What part of the chicken should I use?
When it comes to chicken, I confess that I favor the thigh part because it is meaty and extra juicy. You can, of course, use any part or even one whole chicken. I know I saw some recipes that say to use chicken breasts, but … just between you and me … that part is dry … my least favorite part of the chicken.
Chicken fillet is also an alternative, but I find that many chicken stew-type dishes are more flavorful with the bone-in. That being said, you can most certainly use fillets … just add more flavor in with the chicken stock later.
Is substitution ok with marinades?
I say, sure, why not? Experiment! I do it all the time. I work with what I have in the kitchen. For example, I used light soy when I made this because that is what I had on hand. For the citrus, I usually use kalamansi, but since I still had half a lemon in the ref, I decided to use it rather than let it spoil.
Is there a technique for marinating chicken?
Honestly, it is the simplest thing. Just put the chicken in a large bowl, pour in the soy sauce, squeeze on the lemon juice, then give the chicken a massage. After that, just leave it alone for at least thirty minutes. Easy peasy, right?
Prep to kill time.
Some people leave the kitchen while marinating as it does take time. Me? I use that time to get all the other ingredients together and set them aside so that when I need them, I just need to scoop them into the pot. After all, there is still a lot that needs to be done.
- No chicken stock? No problem. Just dissolve one chicken bouillon cube in one cup of hot water, and voila! Instant chicken stock. 🙂
- wash the veggies, then set aside to dry a bit
- peel and chop the garlic
- peel and chop the onion
- unwrap and slice the chicken franks
- unwrap and slice the Chorizo de Bilbao
- peel and slice the potato
- peel and slice the carrot
- slice the bell peppers, removing the seeds
- pop the can of sliced mushrooms and drain
Slow is good.
There are quite a few recipes that call for high or medium-high heat, and that is usually how I start because I want to get the pan or pot nice and hot when I have to saute first. But once I have the meat in the pan, I usually bring it down from high to medium-high. Later, when the juices come out, I bring it down to medium-low to simmer. Cooking at too high temperatures might cook the food faster, but we miss out on the flavor and tenderness of the dish.
When cooking stews, medium-low and low heat are good once you get a good simmer. Trust me, it takes a little longer, but the results are quite gratifying.
If you don’t enjoy cooking, it may seem like a lot to do. Personally, I find cooking therapeutic and seeing (and hearing) my family enjoying what I prepared makes me happy.
- 1 kg chicken chopped
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 lemon or 1-2 kalamansi
- 2 tbsps. cooking oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 1 piece Chorizo de Bilbao
- 1 cup chicken stock You can substitute with 1 cup hot water plus 1 Knorr chicken cube.
- 4 pieces chicken franks sliced
- 1 large potato cut into wedges
- 1 piece carrot cut into wedges
- 1 cup all-purpose cream You can substitute it with evaporated milk.
- 1 red bell pepper cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 green bell pepper cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms I like to use champignons.
- salt and pepper to taste
- Wash the chicken cut-ups and place them in a container. Pour over the soy sauce and lemon/kalamansi and mix. Let it sit for 30 minutes to marinate. Set aside.
- Peel and chop the other solid ingredients. Set aside.
- In a pot, saute the garlic and onion in some oil.
- When onions are softened, add in the Chorizo de Bilbao.
- Add the marinated chicken and lay it out evenly at the bottom of the pan to cook evenly. Scoop the sauteed garlic, onion, and Chorizo de Bilbao on top of the chicken so that they do not overcook or burn. The goal here is to LIGHTLY BROWN the chicken, not fry it. Lower the heat slightly and cover. You will notice that the chicken will not appear fried but will produce a "soup" instead if you do this. Make sure to turn the chicken as you don't want only one side to brown.
- If you have more chicken pieces than space, do them in batches. When the first batch is lightly browned on both sides, put in the remaining chicken and place the first batch on top of them. Don't forget to cover. This step should take around 5 to 10 minutes.
- Add the sliced chicken franks and chicken stock. Lower the heat and let it simmer covered for 20 minutes.
- Add the potato, carrot, and cream. Mix, then simmer covered for another 8 minutes.
- Add the bell peppers and mushroom, mix, and cook for another 3 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and just let it sit for a few minutes before serving.