If I could eat just one thing before dying, it would be Gallo en Chicha. A traditional Salvadorean dish, slow braised rooster (using mature chicken in the recipe here), in a rich sweet & sour tomato broth, perfectly balanced. Every time I eat it I’m reminded of my grandma, sitting at her table for some epic family meals. Thankfully, my grandma shared her recipe with my mom and after moving to Canada, this was yet one more thing to remind us of El Salvador. This dish is rustic, flavourful, soulful and just straight up, my epitome of comfort food. I can think of no better introduction than to share with you my favorite thing to eat in the world.
Mature chicken, and even rooster, if you’re feeling adventurous enough to try this, are a little bit difficult to find but not impossible. For both, I would suggest contacting your local butcher or meat provider and get them to check with their sales reps, usually a little bit of a higher price but it’s definitely worth it. The reasons you want to use an older bird are simply texture and flavour. The muscles are stronger and can withstand a longer marinating and cooking time and can develop a deeper flavour because of it. For those of you that are willing to go through the extra steps to find the necessary birds, I can assure you that it’s worth it. Now, if you would like to try this dish with the much younger birds found at your local grocery store I would suggest skipping the marinating process altogether and going straight to the braise.
With many of the recipes that you will find on this site, unless baking, the ingredient amounts are more of a guideline. We all have different palates and have preferences to different flavours. In this dish, the main thing you are looking for in regards to flavour, is a balance between the sweet, the sour and the salty. My suggestion for this, play with the amount of prunes, manzanillo olives & capers before adjusting seasoning with salt and pepper.
Most of the ingredients on this recipe should be easy to find except for dulce de panela, an unrefined whole cane sugar, obtained from the boiling and evaporation of sugar cane juice. You can find this at your local Latin American market, in Calgary you can look for it at Unimarket or La Tiendona.