Fish and meaty mains

How to make Estofado: Guatemala’s tastiest stew*

Estofado: Guatemala's tastiest stew

This hearty meat stew is another little gem which we picked up from our host family’s chef in Antigua, Sandra. It’s similar to the iconic Pepian however with the addition of carrot, fresh red peppers and bayleaves and without the smokey, slightly charred taste. Sandra used chicken legs in her recipe but it can be done just as well with pork neck or chuck steak (beef). She also served it with a simple but no less delicious ‘ensalada rusia’ which is basically a potato salad. This is Sandra’s recipe for how to make Estofado.

How to make Estofado: Ingredients (serves 4)

For Estofado:

1kg chicken legs and thighs

2 chile guaque, seeds removed**

2 chile pasa, seeds removed**

0.10kg tomatillos

1 kg fresh roma tomatoes

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into a large cubes

2 medium carrots, peeled and diced into large rounds

1 medium onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

3 dried bayleaves

2 branches thyme

1 cinnamon quill

Small handful of plain flour to dust the chicken pieces

Dash of oil (vegetable or olive) for frying the chicken

Salt and pepper to taste


For Ensalada Rusia:

2 large potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes

2 medium carrots, peeled and roughly diced

1 red pepper, diced

1 large handful of green beans, top and tailed

0.5 cup of whole egg mayonnaise (or more if you’re like us and love mayo!)

Salt and pepper to taste


How to make Estofado: Method

  1. Add potatoes to a large pot of lightly salted water, bring to the boil and then cook until just soft. Set aside to cool.
  2. Dust the chicken pieces in flour and then fry off over a medium heat in a little oil until browned. Set aside.
  3. In the same pan as the chicken, sauté the onion and garlic with the bayleaves and thyme. Cook until onion and garlic is translucent.
  4. In a food processor or blender, add the cooked onions, garlic and herbs with the cinnamon, chiles, red pepper, tomatoes and mil tomatoes and then blend to a relatively smooth sauce. Add a little hot water if the sauce is too thick.
  5. Cook chicken in sauce for 30-45mins until chicken is well cooked and starting to fall off the bone.
  6. While chicken is cooking, blanch green beens and carrots in lightly salted, boiling water and then refresh under cold water. Dice beans into 1cm rounds.
  7. Mix potatoes, green beans, carrots, red peppers and mayonnaise in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper
  8. Serve the estofada with steamed rice, tortillas and ensalada rusia. Or you can just go rustic with some quality bread and butter on the side.

*DISCLAIMER: We’re still on the road so recipe is yet to be tested. We’ll get to it as soon as we can. Any feedback welcome.

**NOTE: Chile Guaque and Chile Pasa are different varieties of Guatemalan chile which are found in most markets in dried form. Guaques are black and Pasas are a very deep red colour.

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