Seca de Pollo


A traditional Ecuadorian stew made with
chicken, spices, and lots of love



During my “In Memory Of” series, I was privileged enough to learn about seca de pollo, an Ecuadorian chicken stew that fills your home with incredible aromas. Bursting with flavor from many delectable vegetables and traditional seasoning, this homecooked dish is simple to make and perfect for a big family or gathering.

Carla from Ecuador provided us with this seca de pollo recipe. Though she now lives in Georgia, this traditional Ecuadorian meal remains one of her favorites. Seca de pollo is a common meal throughout Ecuador, but Carla makes it in memory of her parents, Guadalupe and Carlos. They made this dish often for Carla, and though they passed before they could teach her to cook, Carla took it upon herself to work her way back to this recipe. I am honored that she should share it with us after rediscovering it.

Whenever Carla would ask who taught her mom to cook, her mother would respond with a single word: life. This seca de pollo recipe is a testament to this sentiment. It is the epitome of beautiful home cooking; full of love and life experience, the chicken falls apart in a pool of rich flavors over a soft bed of rice. Seca de pollo was a wonderful experience full of flavor, and it was easy to plate. I highly recommend you try this little piece of Carla’s home.

Carla’s mom taught Carla and her brothers a love for cooking, baking, and art. She also taught them to be resilient hard workers who keep moving forward. Despite whatever challenges were presented to her, Carla feels she has done just that in life. Her mother and father live on in the hearts of those whose lives they touched, and this seca de pollo recipe is a representation of this notion.

Thank you to Carla, Guadalupe, and Carlos for such a touching, delicious cooking experience. It was a privilege to cook your seca de pollo, and I hope that many others are inspired to try this dish.

Watch the Video

Seca de Pollo


  • 1 lb chicken drumsticks
  • 1 red onion sliced into half moons
  • 1 scallion chopped
  • 1 large green bell pepper sliced
  • 1 large beefsteak tomato
  • 2 red potatoes cubed
  • Fresh parsley chopped
  • Fresh cilantro chopped
  • 5 garlic cloves minced
  • adobo seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 achiote seasoning packet
  • 1 chicken bouillon cube
  • 2-3 bay leaves
  • dried oregano
  • dalt & pepper
  • oregano


  • Remove skin from chicken and discard.
  • Season chicken with salt, pepper, and cumin. Heat about 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the bottom of a large pot. 
  • Add chicken and season with adobo. Sear on each side until brown, about 3 minutes per side.
  • Once browned, remove from pot and set aside. (Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to do this in batches.)
  • To the same pot add red onion, bell pepper, scallions, butter, and the whole achiote seasoning packet.
  • Stir to melt butter and combine. Let cook until vegetables are soft, about 5 minutes or so. 
  • Add the garlic, salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste. Cook for another few minutes before adding the chicken, including any juices,  back in. 
  • Cover the chicken with the vegetables to make sure everything is distributed well. Add enough water to just barely cover the chicken and give it another stir.
  • Add the bay leaves and bring to a simmer. Using a cheese grater, grate tomato directly into the pot.
  • Add the bouillon cube and stir well. Add potatoes, a little more adobo, and half parsley and cilantro. 
  • Cover and cook until potatoes are just barely done (when you can stick a fork in them, but they don’t fall apart), about 10 minutes. 
  • Taste the soup and add more salt, pepper, or adobo as needed. Remove lid and cook for another 5-10 minutes to let reduce. Finish with the rest of your fresh herbs. Serve with white rice and avocado!  
Course: Dinner
Region: Latin America
Diet: Gluten Free
Keyword: Comfort food


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