This Brazilian Stew Chicken recipe is super simple and comforting. Known as ensopado de frango in Portuguese, this one pot chicken stew is a super basic recipe with no frills or fancy ingredients. It’s wonderful for a midweek dinner, and the leftovers are utterly magical.
Why I love this Brazilian Stew Chicken recipe:
Well, how could anyone not love stewed chicken thighs and drumsticks in a luscious broth with potatoes and veggies?
It’s all kinds of comforting! And most people might be surprised to know that, while Brazil is a tropical country, we love us some stew all year long! So yeah, beans, and all the things stewy and saucy no matter how hot it might be outside.
This stew chicken recipe is so simple, I’ve had it on a fairly regular rotation pretty much all my life. It’s affordable, and there aren’t any frills or fancy ingredients needed to make it. All you need is a little time, as it’ll sit on the stovetop for a little while as it cooks.
In fact, my favorite thing to do is make this chicken drumstick stew early in the day. Then I let it sit for a few hours before serving. This is not required, but the longer the chicken sits in the pot, the more the flavor sets in, the more tender it gets, and the more magical everything tastes. For the same reason, this recipe will leave you with the best leftovers, too!
I hope you love it as much as I do!!
Ingredients + Tools
- Chicken thighs and legs—bone-in and skinless is what I use, mainly because I’m not a huge fan of stewed chicken skin. Also, you’ll notice this is a pretty simple stew, and not a lot of strong flavors get added here to cut through all the chicken fat from all the pieces you’ll be using. Therefore, you may end up with more fat than chicken flavor if you use skin-on pieces of chicken. That said, you can go ahead and keep the skin on if you’d like.
- Olive oil—or another lighter flavored oil.
- Onions—yellow or white.
- Scallions—we’ll be using the white and green parts of the scallions, which are also known as green onions. You’ll be mincing the white part, and slicing the green part!
- Brazilian sofrito—or you can replace this with a few cloves of minced garlic.
- Ground mustard powder
- Apple cider vinegar—this is my go-to acid when adding to a recipe like this one. Please note that it is not the same thing as apple cider, which is sweet and delightful for sipping.
- All-purpose flour—this is going to thicken our chicken leg stew.
- Gold potatoes—these are my favorite, though I’m sure you could use baby potatoes in this recipe, too.
- Chicken broth or stock—homemade or store-bought is perfect! Use whatever you’ve got on hand.
- Bay leaf
- Fresh thyme
- Unsalted butter—this adds a little extra creaminess to the stew chicken recipe once it’s done cooking. You could use salted butter if you have that, as well, though be careful in adding additional salt so that your stew doesn’t get too salty. Oh, and if you choose to keep the skin on your chicken legs, you can go and omit the butter—there is more than enough fat in the skin.
In addition to these ingredients, here’s what else you’re going to need to make this Brazilian Chicken Thigh Stew recipe:
How to Make Chicken Leg Stew
Start off with seasoning the chicken legs with just salt and pepper. Let them sit on the counter while you prep all the other ingredients.
When everything is ready, heat the pan, drizzle in the olive oil, and start browning the chicken legs.
When browning the chicken drumsticks and thighs, I recommend doing so in two batches, because if you overcrowd the pan, the chicken won’t brown, and worse, you won’t get any brown bits in your pot. That’s a huge missed opportunity for maximizing the flavor potential in this recipe.
When the chicken legs are browned, set them aside, and move on to sautéing the aromatics—that being both the regular onion, as well as the white part of the scallions. They taste like mild onions, so we use them to punch in extra flavor!
When they are soft, add in the Brazilian sofrito, or the garlic and sauté until almost golden brown.
Next, add the paprika and the mustard powder to the pan, and let it “toast” a bit. This will help the flavors of the seasonings develop. Just be careful not to let things burn.
Add the vinegar to the pan, and be sure to scrape all that brown goodness from the bottom of pan to allow it to dissolve into the liquid. This adds an extra layer of delicious to your stewed chicken!
After the vinegar has reduced by at least half, add the chicken back to the pan, and give it a stir to coat with some of the remaining vinegar. This adds some more flavor, as well as help tenderize the chicken legs.
When the vinegar evaporates, dust the chicken with the flour and give it all a stir to coat. This will help thicken the broth as the stew cooks.
Let it stew!
Add in all the rest of the ingredients to the pot, except for the green onions—so, the potatoes, and the herbs—then cover it all with the chicken stock. Bring it to a low boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover and let it cook until the potatoes are soft.
When the potatoes are cooked, open the pot, sprinkle in half of the green onions and continue to simmer uncovered for 40 minutes to about an hour. This is also a good time to give it a taste and check if you need to adjust the salt.
After about an hour, turn off the heat. Add in the cold butter and the rest of the green onions, stir it all up to combine, and you’re all set!
When I’m finished cooking my stew chicken recipe, I like to cover the pot, and let the pan sit on the stove for at least 30 minutes before serving. It’s even better if you can let it sit longer to allow all the the flavors to set.
Serve this one pot chicken stew recipe with:
Other soup and stew recipes to try:
- Creamy Pumpkin Soup Recipe
- Lentil Stew with Sausage and Pork
- Chicken and Sausage Gumbo
- Bean and Pasta Soup (Sopa de Feijão com Macarrão)
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Brazilian Stew Chicken Recipe
- 2 pounds bone in, skinless, chicken thighs and legs
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup diced onions
- 1/4 cup white part of scallions, minced from about a whole bunch
- 1 cup of the green part of scallions, sliced from about a whole bunch
- 1 tablespoon of Brazilian sofrito or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon of paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard powder
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 1 pound of gold potatoes, halved
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 Tablespoons of butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Season the chicken with salt and pepper, and set aside for about 10 minutes
- In a 5.5 quart Dutch oven, or heavy bottom pan, heat the olive oil on medium to high heat.
- Add half of the chicken legs to brown on both sides, when they're light golden brown, remove them from the pan, and set aside on a plate. Repeat this process with the other half of the chicken legs.
- Drizzle some more olive oil in the pan, then reduce the heat to medium. Add in the diced onions, the white part of the scallions, and saute until soft.
- Next add in the Brazilian sofrito or the garlic, and saute until fragrant.
- Add in the paprika and the ground mustard powder, then stir to combine. Let it cook for about a minute, then add in the vinegar to deglaze the pan.
- Let the vinegar reduce in half, then add the chicken back to the pan. Stir to coat and cook until the acid evaporates.
- Sprinkle in the flour, and stir to combine.
- Add in the potatoes, the chicken stock, the bay leaf and the thyme – give everything a stir and make sure everything is submerged in liquid.
- Bring everything to a quick boil, then reduce to low heat, cover and simmer until the potatoes are cooked – about 20 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and add in half of the green onions. Stir and continue to simmer until the liquid thickens, another 40 minutes to an hour.
- Add in the rest of the green onions and the butter. Stir to combine. Turn off the heat, taste and adjust salt and pepper if needed.
- Serve with rice or crusty bread!