The Flavor of Salvadoran Christmas: Stewed Chicken with Rice

Learn how to make the traditional Salvadoran Christmas dinner, which the children at NPH El Salvador will enjoy on Christmas Night.
December 12, 2019 - El Salvador

A traditional Salvadoran Christmas meal of Stewed Chicken with Rice and Potato Salad

There are many traditions regarding Christmas around the world. As any family, NPH has its own traditions and the children and youth living at NPH El Salvador have a good time during the holidays. They live out different experiences filled with special moments that make this season an exceptional time to spend as a family. Dinner time is one of those exceptional moments.

Stewed chicken served with rice and egg potato salad is really delicious and craved by the NPH children. Our cooks are in charge of preparing the meal, which everyone enjoys after Mass on Christmas Eve, December 24.

Recipe for Stewed Chicken with Rice and Potato Salad

For the chicken

5 pounds or 10 chicken drumsticks or thighs (US$23.90)

Salt and pepper to taste (US$0.05)

3 tablespoons oil (US$0.40)

1 cup diced onions (US$0.25)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced (US$0.15)

1 tablespoon thyme, chopped (US$0.20)

1 tablespoon tomato paste (US$0.85)

Total US$25.80

For the rice

1 1/2 cups rice (US$0.70)

2 tablespoons oil (US$0.20)

1 small yellow onion, chopped (US$0.25)

1 small green bell pepper, chopped (US$0.35)

1 teaspoon garlic, minced (US$0.10)

Total US$1.60

For the egg potato salad

1 pound potatoes (US$0.60)

8 eggs, hard boiled and cooled (US$2.00)

1/2 cup mayonnaise (US$0.50)

1 1/2 teaspoons yellow mustard (US$0.25)

1 green onion, thinly sliced (US$0.25)

1 stalk celery, finely diced (US$0.25)

Total US$3.85

1 loaf bread (US$1.50)

Total cost of the dinner US$32.75


To prepare the stewed chicken, rinse the chicken and add seasoning to marinade the meat. Set aside for about half an hour.

Heat the oil in a large pot on medium heat and brown the chicken. While the chicken is browning, combine onion, garlic, thyme, salt, and pepper. Remove chicken from the pot. Reduce heat to low. Cook onion mixture in the same pot on low heat until the onions are softened.

Push the onion mixture to one side of the pot. Add tomato paste, smearing it on an empty side of the pot with the back of a spoon. Toast tomato paste two to three minutes by scraping and re-smearing the paste, turning it over a few times. Then, combine the onion and the tomato paste in the pot. Cook together for one minute.

Increase heat to medium high and return the browned chicken to the pot, along with any drippings from the resting chicken. Mix everything together and cook for about one minute. Add enough water or chicken stock to the pot to almost cover the chicken. (Be careful not to submerge the chicken.) Cover the pot and bring it to a boil, then reduce heat to medium. Vent the lid and continue to simmer the chicken until the liquid is reduced to a savory sauce. Add salt, if desired. Serve with rice, salad, and bread.

Costs for a typical family

This traditional dish is prepared by families in El Salvador, similar to a turkey that might be served for Christmas dinner in other countries. Because other meats are not as affordable for most Salvadoran families, stewed chicken is an economical option to share with family and friends in this special season.

For about US$33 this recipe will serve a family of four. This may sound affordable, but for many Salvadoran families it is not. When you consider the traditional family get-together at Christmas time averages 15 people, the cost increases considerably.

US$ is the symbol for the United States dollar, the national currency of El Salvador.

Carmina Salazar   
Communication Officer




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