Colombian Cuisine — Pollo Sudado: “Sweaty” Chicken

Pollo sudado (translation: “sweaty chicken,” recipe follows) is weekly fare for many families in Barranquilla, where the dish probably originated.  Its popularity spread throughout the neighboring area for good reason.  Chicken and potatoes, stewed in onions, broth, and spices, has all the makings of comfort food: easy to make, rich, starchy, and flavorful.

More Colombian dishes on The World Cup of Food:

  • Ajiaco, chicken, corn, and potato stew (with Colombian cuisine overview)
  • Arepas, pan-cooked corn cakes

Pollo Sudado has as many recipes as cooks who make the dish, and among the sources we found can include:

  • tomatoes
  • saffron
  • cumin
  • bell peppers
  • achiote
  • mustard
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • chicken boullion
  • yuca
  • plantains
  • olives
  • …and many others!

We made our pollo sudado recipe by taking bits and pieces from our sources, using the ingredients that appealed to our tastes and were available to us without too much trouble (sorry, yuca!).  The reader is encouraged to check out our sources and try a different version.

Pollo Sudado

adapted from Gran Cocina Latina: The Food of Latin America by Maricel E. Presilla, My Colombian Recipes, Hispanic Kitchen, and My Colombian Cocina


  • 2 Tbs vegetable oil
  • 2 chicken hindquarters, skinned
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs achiote paste
  • 3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 pound small Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into about 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper

The first step to any good stew is to brown the meat, so we put the oil in our enameled cast-iron Dutch oven over medium heat, and once the oil was hot added our chicken pieces, seasoned liberally with salt and pepper:


After about five minutes the chicken was turned over:


…and cooked another five minutes until the other side was browned like the first.  The chicken was removed and set aside.

Into the hot oil and chicken drippings went our chopped onions:


…which were fried, stirring frequently, until brown, another five minutes or so:


Next we added the achiote paste and garlic:


…and stirred until the garlic was fragrant and the achiote paste was mostly broken up into the oil, about three minutes.  The tomatoes were next:


The tomato-achiote-onion-garlic mixture was cooked until the tomatoes were completely softened and the ingredients had fully combined, about ten minutes:


Next we added the stock, stirring it into the ingredients already in the pot until it was simmering:


The chicken pieces were added next, and the sauce was brought back to a simmer over medium heat:


Once simmering, the heat was reduced to low and the lid was placed on the pot for about thirty minutes.  At this point the chicken was not yet done, but it was the perfect time to add the potatoes:


The lid was returned and the stew simmered another half hour until the leg meat was starting to fall off the bone:


We were ready to eat!  We served our pollo sudado on top of a generous helping of white rice and alongside the arepas we made that night for an interesting Colombian meal:

Three kinds of starch!

Our stew was brick red in color and very flavorful.  The achiote, with its rich, sharp, and slightly tangy flavor, penetrated the entire dish and left our potatoes and chicken with a orange hue.  This dish was easy, very strongly flavored, and pretty quick for a stew.  We will probably make this again soon, if for no other reason than to try some other ingredients.  Olives?  Carrots?  Jalapenos?  Mustard?  We could try them all.

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