Grilled chicken stewed in vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, garlic, shallots and chili. It’s a Filipino sweet sour chicken stew a.k.a. paksiw na lechon manok.
Is it a traditional Filipino dish? Noooooo, not exactly. But is is based on paksiw na lechon, a stew made with leftover roast pork. Except for the substitution of chicken for the pork, the recipe is exactly the same.
You saute garlic, shallots and chilies in a little oil, you pour in the vinegar and soy sauce, and you sprinkle in brown sugar. You throw in a couple of bay leaves and add a little freshly cracked black pepper. You drop in the grilled chicken and you boil everything together until the chicken has soaked up most of the liquid. Then, you pour in the lechon sauce and simmer everything until all the flavors have fused together and the sauce has reduced some more. By the end of the cooking time, the chicken pieces should be snuggled in a thick blanket of dark sauce.
It’s my go-to recipe when we have leftover rotisserie chicken. While leftover breast meat from rotisserie chicken often becomes chicken sandwich spread or, occasionally, rotisserie chicken salad, dealing with leftovers larger than a chicken breast can be more tricky. And paksiw na lechon manok is such a tasty and convenient solution.
It’s also a smart way to recycle fried chicken. Fried chicken is great with its crispy skin and moist meat when newly cooked. But when it has turned cold especially after sitting overnight in the fridge, it is impossible to make the skin as crispy during reheating. Some cooks deep fry leftover fried chicken but that makes the chicken much too greasy. Me? I’d rather throw cold fried chicken into a pot and cook it as paksiw.
It’s easy, it’s delicious and it requires a much shorter cooking time than the traditional paksiw na lechon because the chicken pieces are smaller. It takes only about 30 minutes to cook the dish plus a couple of minutes to do the prep.
Paksiw na Lechon Manok (Filipino Sweet Sour Chicken Stew)
- 2 shallots or 1 red onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 2 to 3 bird's eye chilies
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1/3 cup vinegar
- 1/4 cup dark soy sauce
- 1/4 cup dark brown sugar firmly packed
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 6 to 10 leftover grilled or fried chicken pieces (about 800 grams in total weight)
- 1 to 1 and 1/2 cups lechon sauce (store bought)
- sliced scallions to garnish
- Peel and thinly slice the shallots
- Peel and mince the garlic.
- Finely slice the chilies.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan.
- Saute the garlic, shallots (or onion) with 2/3 of the sliced chilies until softened and aromatic, about two to three minutes.
- Pour in the vinegar and soy sauce. Stir in the brown sugar and black pepper, and throw in the bay leaves.
- Dump the leftover rotisserie or fried chicken into the pan. Boil until most of the liquid has been absorbed, about five minutes.
- Pour in the lechon sauce. Set the heat to the lowest setting. Cover the pan. Simmer the chicken for 20 minutes. Midway through the cooking, taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings, as needed.
- Transfer the cooked paksiw na lechon manok into a serving bowl or individual bowls. Garnish with sliced scallions and the remaining sliced chilies.