Letting Life Lead
This is one of my “pay it forward meals” where you can take the leftovers and use it as a base for a next meal. Sometimes when I make my grandmother’s jag, I get a craving for what we called Chicken Gizaud and then I use the leftovers to make her chicken stew. I found it difficult at first to find out much about the dish online because usually when you type in “Chicken Gizaud” you get the recipe for Carne Gizado which in no where near the same.
A little digging and a search for Pollo Gizado brought up a few vague references to the Cape Verdean dish, but no recipes. There were recipes for a Dominican dish from the blog Whats4Eats and Puerto Rican dish from the blog The Posh Latin Cook that is a stewed or braised chicken dish with a tomato base. I am satisfied that these dishes are related to my Grandmother’s Chicken Gizaud, but they are too complicated. Whether this is the way they make it in the Cape Verde Islands is unclear to me, but I do know my grandmother makes it very simple with a basic ingredients. The key one being ketchup!
I did some further Googling and resorted to an image search. I finally found a blog called Recipes Mara that had the right picture and when I checked a short ingredient list for the Dominican stewed (or braised) chicken dish. Luckily, when I hit the translate option I could actually read the list. Aside from a couple of things that my Grandmother doesn’t use it was the closest approximation. It even includes a few changes that I made on my own.
No, put down the measuring cups. There are no measurements, only approximations because how I make it and how my grandmother makes this dish is slightly different and she doesn’t measure.
It’ll be okay. You can’t mess it up unless you burn it to charcoal.
My Grandmother’s Recipe
White and dark meat chicken (because when my Grandfather was alive he liked the white meat)
a small amount of onion
Cook until the meat is, well, cooked.
water (not usually)
Hey, don’t look at me like that. That’s all I could squeeze out of the old lady. I’m not even sure if she owns a measuring cup or actual measuring spoons!
Chicken thighs (I occasionally use white meat, but rarely legs)
A lot of onions (I like onions a whole bunch. The picture shows three but actually used four!)
kosher or sea salt to taste
fresh ground pepper to taste
paprika (sweet or regular)
garlic (often fresh, but I’ve also used dried powder or freeze dried)
water — sometimes (my favorite part is the sauce so at times I like a lot of it and it keeps me from burning the chicken)
Season the chicken and sear in a stewing pan or big pot until the skin gets a little crisp and you start to make those lovely little brown bits. If you use skinless chicken you can skip this step. Add in the onions and ketchup and water (if you want sauce use water, if you want it lightly coated like my grandmother don’t use water but you will have to turn the chicken over for even cooking partway through). Cover and cook until the house smells good and it is done. When you cook it without water or just a splash the chicken tends to remain intact and you can get some lovely char on the bottom of the pot which is my favorite. I’ve been known to scrape it off and eat it with a spoon. If you want more sauce and for your chicken to fall off the bone use more water — maybe half an inch.
When I say I use a lot of onions. I mean a LOT. If you don’t like onions as much as me use a small diced one for flavor.
I added water this time (put it in an empty ketchup bottle to get as much goodness out of it). My grandmother uses Heinz but Hunt’s was on sale, plus I had a really cheap store brand that needed using up.
Just feel how much you want. You can always add more later. I like to cook mine a long time to get it all thick and gooey on the bottom, however, this time my Minions were starting to gnaw on my legs so I cut the time short. Still good; I do mourn the lost sticky bits that never were.
I served it with jag this time, but it is also terribly good with mashed potatoes. The Minions ate the chicken first and had their jag ketchup style. This dish (aside from the peas) was consumed by my husband which is the highest praise any cook can hope to get since he’s very picky. He didn’t say it was good, but his plate was clean so I assume yes!
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Author of suspense novels Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians. As well as the short story collection Time Wasters and (co-author of) The Suspenseful Collection. Columnist for The Conscious Talk Magazine.
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