May 21, 2024

Prepare Pollo al Disco: The Best Argentine Stew

Ever heard of Argentine pollo al disco? It’s a yummy combination of chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, and many other vegetables cooked in a (believe it or not) plow disk.   This is one of the most complex recipes I’ve shared but also one of the most delicious. I assure you, it will be worth your time! History […]

Jason Pittock

May 21, 2024

Ever heard of Argentine pollo al disco? It’s a yummy combination of chicken, potatoes, tomatoes, and many other vegetables cooked in a (believe it or not) plow disk.  

This is one of the most complex recipes I’ve shared but also one of the most delicious. I assure you, it will be worth your time!

History and Origins

Pollo al disco, just like many dishes in Argentina, has its roots in the rural areas of the country, where it was traditionally cooked by gauchos in the outdoors.

The cooking method of pollo al disco is truly unique. It involves using a disco de arado (a plow disk), traditionally used in farming to turn the soil. When these disks were worn out and no longer useful, gauchos ingeniously repurposed them into cooking vessels (pretty amazing if you ask me). 

This adaptation gave birth to the name “Pollo al disco,” which literally means “Chicken on the Disk.” This wide, shallow disk allows for even cooking while placed on an open fire. 

And you can cook a lot more than just chicken: have a look at my Argentine Sweetbreads Risotto recipe:

Today, pollo al disco is often prepared during family gatherings, outdoor parties, and special occasions, much like Argentine Asado

Prepare Your Own Pollo al Disco 

These are the ingredients you’ll need. The list looks massive, but trust me: it will be worth the effort! 

Ingredients

  • Whole chicken (cut into pieces)
  • Onions
  • Bell peppers (various colors)
  • Tomatoes
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Green peas
  • White wine
  • Chicken broth
  • Olive oil
  • Paprika, oregano, bay leaves, salt, and pepper

Equipment

Just as you need a parrilla argentina to prepare Argentine asado, you’ll need some equipment for your home-made pollo al disco: 

Disco de Arado (Plow Disk)

This large, shallow disk was originally used in farming but has been repurposed as a cooking vessel. Its wide surface area allows for even cooking, and its thick metal construction retains heat well, perfect for slow-cooking the stew.

But if you cannot get an original plow disk, then a large, shallow skillet or wok will do. Choose one with a wide base to ensure even cooking and enough space to accommodate all the ingredients. 

Cast iron or heavy-duty stainless steel pans are great options because they hold heat well and can mimic the cooking conditions of a plow disk.

Outdoor Cooking Setup

Pollo al disco is traditionally cooked over an open fire so, for an authentic experience, you’ll need a fire pit or a sturdy grill. But, just like you can prepare Argentine steak in your kitchen instead of outside, you can also prepare this dish indoors! 

While you won’t get the same flavor, you can still achieve a rich, hearty stew by cooking over medium-high heat. 

Additional Tools

  • Tongs and wooden spoon: Tongs are useful for turning the chicken pieces, while a sturdy wooden spoon is ideal for stirring the stew as it cooks.
  • Cutting board and sharp knife for quickly and easily preparing the ingredients.

Pollo al Disco: Recipe Step by Step

Ready to get started with your pollo al disco? Follow these steps and enjoy! 

Prepare the Ingredients

Season the chicken with salt, pepper, paprika, and dried oregano. Expert tip: Let it marinate for about 30 minutes. Then, slice the onions, bell peppers, and tomatoes while mincing the garlic cloves. Peel and cube the potatoes and slice the carrots.

Set Up Your Disco

Place the plow disk over a fire pit or grill. Let it heat up for a few minutes before drizzling some oil so vegetables won’t stick. 

Cook the Vegetables

First, add the onions and garlic and sauté until they become translucent and fragrant. Now is the time to add the rest of your vegetables.

Brown the Chicken

Push the vegetables to the sides of the plow disk to create space in the center. Then, place the seasoned chicken pieces in the center of the disk. Let them brown on one side for about 5 minutes. Flip the chicken pieces and brown the other side for an additional 5 minutes.

Simmer the Stew

Once the chicken is browned, pour in the white wine and chicken broth. Cover the plow disk with a lid or aluminum foil and let the stew simmer over medium-low heat for about 30-40 minutes. 

Expert Tips

pollo al disco recipe

Looking for some extra tips? Here’s my advice after years of preparing different Argentine cuisine dishes, including pollo al disco: 

  • Maintain even heat: Adjust the flames or stovetop settings as needed to maintain a steady, medium-low heat so the stew cooks evenly without burning.
  • Layer flavors: Build layers of flavor by sautéing the onions and garlic first until they’re golden and aromatic. Then, add the bell peppers, tomatoes, and other vegetables. 
  • Don’t overcrowd the disk: Do not overcrowd the plow disk or skillet with too many ingredients at once. Cook the chicken and vegetables in batches, if necessary, to ensure they brown evenly. 
  • Let it rest: After cooking, let the pollo al disco rest for a few minutes. This will make it easier to handle and serve—and a lot tastier!

Now that you’ve got the full recipe, it’s time to fire up your grill or stove and give pollo al disco a try.  

Gather your ingredients (and some friends!) and get ready to savor the fruits of your hard work—all those house hours in front of the disk will certainly pay off. 

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