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Culinary SOS: Pollo al Colmao at El Colmao


Dear SOS: El Colmao in Koreatown has the most delicious chicken stew with olives. Could you please get their recipe for El Colmao Chicken? Thank you!

Susan Mooney


Dear Susan: Cuban institution El Colmao credits this recipe to "old grandpa Eduardo Sousa." The specialty features tender, slow-cooked chicken stewed in a Creole-style tomato sauce dotted with green olives and peas and spiced with chile powder.

Pollo al Colmao

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Total time: 1 1/2 hours

Servings: 6 to 8

Note: Adapted from El Colmao. The restaurant serves the chicken with rice and black beans.

2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil, divided

1/2 large onion, sliced thinly into half-rings, plus 1 large onion, chopped, divided

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

3 pounds chicken pieces

1 3/4 teaspoons salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon white pepper, divided

3/4 cup dry white wine, divided

1 tomato, seeded and chopped

1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1/4 cup sweet peas

1 teaspoon paprika

1/4 cup chile powder (type can vary, use heat to taste)

1 cup pitted whole green olives, or to taste

1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a large Dutch oven, heat 2 teaspoons oil over high heat. Add the sliced onions to the oil and sauté, stirring frequently, until softened and translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook until the garlic is aromatic and the onions are just beginning to color, about 1 minute more. Remove from heat.

3. Sprinkle the chicken evenly on both sides with three-fourths teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon pepper and place, skin side up and in one layer, over the onions in the Dutch oven. Add one-fourth cup white wine, cover and bake until the chicken is cooked halfway through, about 45 minutes. Remove from heat.

4. Remove the par-baked chicken (with the onion-garlic mixture and any liquid) to a separate baking dish or bowl.

5. To the Dutch oven, add the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and chopped onion and sweat the onions over medium-low heat until softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Stir in the chopped tomato, tomato sauce, tomato paste and sweet peas, along with the remaining one-half cup white wine, paprika, 1 teaspoon salt, one-fourth teaspoon pepper, chile powder and olives and bring to a boil over high heat.

7. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and add back the chicken, onion-garlic mixture and cooking liquid to the sauce. Cover and continue to simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

Each of 8 servings: 340 calories; 29 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams fiber; 17 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 82 mg cholesterol; 7 grams sugar; 1,144 mg sodium.

SOS REQUESTS: Send Culinary SOS requests to or Culinary SOS, Food section, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, phone number and city of residence.

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