Chicken in Brown Gravy (Galinha ao molho pardo)

One of the most traditional recipes of the mineira tradition, the chicken in the brown gravy reflects the historical harder times of the big fazendas (farms) of the region.

Used to feed travelers and gauchos who stopped at an inn to spend the night during their journeys, the double focus of this dish was to prepare hearty dishes to provide sustenance for people with strenuous jobs while serving a meal which was also very tasty.

One interesting aspect of the traditional form of this recipe is that it uses fresh chicken blood in the sauce: this can prove to be difficult to obtain and inconvenient for the casual chef living in a city, so this recipe uses dark brazilian beer as a substitute, with a dish tasting differently as a result but with same appearance.

Galinha ao molho pardo

* 1 big chicken about 6 and 1/2 lb. (3 kg)
* 2 bay leaves
* 1 parsley sauce
* 3 mature red tomatoes, seeds removed
* 1 the onions 2
* 1/2 head of garlic
* 6 large potatoes
* Salt and black pepper
* Oil, quantity as needed

Brown Gravy:
* 1/2 cup (125 ml) white vinegar
* 1 cup dark brazilian beer, such as Xingu Black (or chicken blood if you can get)
* 1 green chili
* few leaves of mint
* 1 big red tomato


1) Blend all ingredients for the gravy, using a blender. If you are using actual chicken blood, be careful not to make the blood curdle, by pouring it gradually into the vinegar.

2) Cut the chicken into pieces, the breast into four parts, as an example, and season with salt and pepper. Leave to rest for a while.

3) In a large pot, preferably clay, put a little oil, the pressed garlic and chopped onion: fry to brown the onion.

4) Preheat the oven to 350 °F (175 °C). Add the bay leaf, the parsley and the finely chopped tomatoes, adjust the seasoning. Place the chicken to cook in this mixture, in the oven.

5) Peel the potatoes and cut them into four pieces each. Cook them in salted water in a separate pan until tender. Reserve.

6) When the chicken has cooked through, add the potatoes, then pour the gravy in and stir the ingredients shaking the pan by the handles, or both sides, from the bottom up.

7) Cook for a few minutes until the alcohol has evaporated, then your chicken is ready.

Serve with white rice and farofa with bacon

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