Pollo en Escabeche

Cold Chicken Breast Poached in an Aromatic Vinaigrette

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Tapas


Appears in


By Frank Camorra and Richard Cornish

Published 2007

  • About

Pollo en escabeche is the classic Spanish way of preparing and preserving birds. It makes such a wonderfully refreshing light lunch in summer, a great little tapas plate and even a sandwich filling. It comes from a time before the forces of evil invented all those ‘E’ numbered chemicals, which are now pumped into packaged food. In the days before artificial chemicals, preservatives came from the village where you lived, where the wine that had been made into vinegar contained enough acid to inhibit bacterial growth. The combination of that vinegar with salt made a very good preserving liquid. All sorts of birds were cooked in escabeche and stored for later use. This recipe is much lighter, and more focused on flavouring than preserving. You can experiment a little if you wish and try the escabeche to poach quail, turkey or the very traditional faisán escabeche (pickled pheasant). You will simply need to adjust the cooking time.


  • 1 litre (35 fl oz/4 cups) escabeche
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts


Bring the escabeche to the boil in a large saucepan over high heat. Add the chicken breasts and when the liquid returns to the boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook for 12 minutes, or until firm to the touch and cooked all the way through.

Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside until cool enough to handle. Slice thinly across the grain into 3 mm (⅛ inch) slices. Arrange on a serving plate, drizzle over some of the escabeche, including some of the carrot and onion.