Recipe: Chicken sofrito

A Sephardi favourite dish of tender, juicy slow-braised meat and potatoes that's comfort in a pot


(C) Blake Ezra Photography 2023 Not to be reproduced without written permission. @BlakeEzraPhoto

  • place PRE 15 mins
  • place COOK 1 hr 10 mins
  • place SERVES 8 - 10
  • printicon

Sofrito is a dish found in nearly every Sephardi family, with each family having its own unique version. In Sephardi cuisine, Sofrito typically involves slow-cooking meat, whether it’s chicken, lamb, or beef, in its own juices. Towards the end of the cooking time, lightly fried cubed potatoes are added to the pot, allowing them to finish cooking in the meat’s juices. Sofrito is most probably the origin of what I affectionately call “kibbutz chicken”.
My family has both a chicken and meatball version of Sofrito, while other families may have a lamb version. However, the cooking method remains the same, resulting in tender, fall-off-the-bone meat and melt-in-your-mouth potatoes.


  • Start by pouring the oil into a Dutch oven or casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid and placing it over high heat. Season the chicken on both sides with paprika, turmeric, salt, and pepper and lay it flat in the pan, skin-side down, and sear for four to five minutes, or until it turns a lovely golden-brown.

  • Turn the chicken over, add the quartered onion, and cover the pot with a lid. Reduce the heat to low and let it cook for 30 minutes, occasionally checking the amount of juice at the bottom of the pan.
    Add a little water if necessary, so there’s always about 5mm of liquid.

  • After the chicken has been cooking for 30 minutes, add enough sunflower oil to a medium, deep-sided saucepan to come up the sides by 3cm. Bring it up to medium-high heat, then carefully fry the peeled garlic cloves and cubed potatoes in batches for about six minutes, or until they take on some colour. Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to a paper towel, sprinkle with salt, and repeat with the remaining potatoes.

  • After the chicken has been cooking for an hour, lift the chicken from the pan and stir the potatoes and garlic into the cooking juices.

  • Place the chicken on top of the potatoes and cook for another 30 minutes, by which time the meat should be falling off the bone.

    Extracted from: Amsalem, A Collection of Recipes for Hope
    This recipe collection has been compiled to raise money for Israeli food charity Leket. For the full collection - available for £15 click


1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 small free-range chicken (about 1.5kg), butterflied or quartered
2 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp turmeric
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
Sunflower oil, for frying
10 garlic cloves, peeled
700g potatoes, peeled, washed, patted dry, and cut into 2cm dice

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