‘Escondidinho de Frango’ Recipe

by Quing Obillos

With less than a week to prepare for Christmas dinner, the pressure to come up with a holiday menu for our families and loved ones is mounting. If you have no idea yet on what to serve for the upcoming feasts, why don’t you give this recipe a try? It’s hearty, comforting, and great for sharing!

Escondidinho de Frango

The layers of Escondidinho de Frango

For quite some time now I’ve been doing some self study of Brazilian Portuguese and it has led me to know more about their culture and most especially their food. Being one of their traditional dishes, one of the first few dishes that I’ve come across is Escondidinho de Frango. The term escondidinho means that something is hidden and frango is chicken in Portuguese. Its closest western counterpart would be the Shepherd’s Pie. I learned about this from my friend from Rio de Janeiro. Although it originated in the Northeastern region of Brazil, it has become an instant favorite of Brazilians from other regions like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. There are variations of the dish like Escondidinho de Carne and Escondidinho de Camarão that replace chicken with minced meat or shrimp.  You can also make this post-Christmas and use leftovers as the filling.

Chicken filling of Escondidinho de Frango

Chicken filling of escondidinho de frango

This dish is prepared to be enjoyed in communal dining. You can make this dish in advance, and in big batches, which is ideal for serving during family gatherings, like this Christmas and New Year celebrations. You can take it to any potluck party and it can easily feed an army. I once made a batch and brought it to the office for lunch and my colleagues loved it!

Então, vamos cozinhar!

Escondidinho de Frango

Escondidinho de Frango

Ingredients

For the potato purée

  • 1 kg potatoes
  • 2 white onions, chopped
  • 1 head of garlic
  • 350 ml milk
  • 15 g butter
  • chopped parsley

For the chicken filling

  • 750 g ground chicken or cooked and shredded chicken breast
  • 75 g green peas
  • 75 g corn (canned)
  • 75 g button mushrooms, chopped
  • 75 g tomatoes, chopped
  • 200 ml tomato sauce
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • cilantro, chopped
  • oregano, chopped
  • rosemary, chopped

Others

  • grated cheddar cheese or mozzarella cheese (or a mixture of cheeses)
  • parmesan cheese

Procedure

For the potato purée

  1. Peel and boil the potatoes.
  2. Strain the water from the potatoes and mash.
  3. Heat olive oil and butter in a pot and then sweat the onions and garlic.
  4. Once cooked, or until the onions turn translucent, add the mashed potatoes and milk.
  5. Mix until the ingredients are well incorporated.
  6. Season with salt and pepper and add the chopped parsley.
  7. Set aside.

For the chicken filling

  1. In a saucepan, heat olive oil and butter and cook the chopped button mushrooms.
  2. Add the ground chicken and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add the tomato sauce, tomatoes, green peas, and corn. Let it cook for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Mix in the herbs (cilantro, oregano and rosemary) and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Set aside for assembly once all ingredients are well mixed.

Assembly and Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C
  2. Split the potato purée into two batches.
  3. Grease the bottom of a baking dish with butter or cooking spray
  4. Line the bottom of the baking dish with the first batch of potato purée.
  5. Add the next layer with cream cheese and grated cheese.
  6. Layer the chicken filling.
  7. Add the next layer of cream cheese and grated cheese.
  8. Add the final layer of potato purée.
  9. Top with the remaining grated cheese and chopped parsley.
  10. Once assembly is done, bake in the oven until gratinated. It will take about 15 to 20 minutes.
  11. Serve and enjoy!

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