Pollo en Escabeche (Chicken in Pickled Sauce)

Spanish Escabeche, a dish in which meat and vegetables are cooked in an acidic vinegar sauce.

It’s unclear who made the first escabeche, but there are clues. The oldest known recipe for the dish (as yet unnamed) is found in the cookbook Apicius, written in Latin by an unknown author around the 4th century AD. It instructs that one can extend the shelf life of fried anchovies by “pouring hot vinegar over them.” Another, more widespread theory argues that escabeche originated in ancient Persia, not Rome, and traveled to the Iberian Peninsula during the Islamic period beginning in the 8th century. After all, escabeche’s root word is the Persian sikbāj, a medieval meat-and-vinegar stew. Almudena Villegas Becerril, Spanish food historian and author of the Culinary Aspects of Ancient Rome, argues that the Persian hypothesis is “a historical falsehood,” since the Romans, and perhaps even the Phoenicians, were preserving food in vinegar in Iberia long before the Moors arrived. “There are verified references to people making what we now call escabeche in the Roman Empire as early as the 1st century AD,” she said. “If only Spaniards knew how many dishes, we make today that date back 3,000 or 4,000 years!

Escabeche is one of many Spanish delicacies that has persisted through the centuries for its preserving powers as well as its deliciousness.

Indeed, a delightful perk of escabeches is that they improve with age for a week or more, making them a practical, versatile fridge staple.


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For 4 Servings

1 cup Carnaroli rice
1 medium onion, chopped
2-3 tablespoons of EV Olive Oil
½ glass of white table wine
1 pint chicken stock preprepared (or vegetable stock)
1 cup rinsed blueberries
1 cup roasted chestnuts or more, chopped in big pieces
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese (optional)