I am guessing that Afritada or fritada refers to frying or sauteeing in Spanish. So Pollo Afritada or some such name would approximate the “original” or inspirational recipe for our own local version (and it was just as likely made with pork, as well). At any rate, I found lots of similar recipes from Spanish cookbooks that include onions, potatoes, green and red peppers, peas, tomatoes (or sauce), garlic, sometimes sherry, vinegar or wine, etc. It seems the ingredients and the loose method of cooking resulted in a well-like “everyday” dish that stuck with local cooks even after the Spanish were gone… But forget about the underpinnings of this dish and finding the “true” or most authentic version…to me, this is one of those totally carinderia or office canteen comfort foods. I LOVE apritadang manok, period. My mom or the cooks made it a lot, and in a school or office lunch setting where I wasn’t too keen on the other viands, this was one of the default choices.
I have a heavy bias towards tomato based dishes and I should have purchased stock in Heinz or Del Monte considering how much ketchup I consumed as a kid, so it’s not a surprise that this dish is one of my childhood favorites. Most local households have their version of this and I have rarely had a totally inedible version (except for those with shards of chicken bone and hardly any meat…). One shouldn’t really have a recipe for this, rather it is done by mood and feel and available ingredients… If I am feeling more “authentic,” I use olive oil, saute the chicken parts till browned, add some crushed garlic, then onions, carrots, red bell peppers, some paprika, potatoes, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce, salt and pepper and a bit of chicken broth if you want it on the saucier side. Cook another 10-15 minutes until flavor are all melded and everthing is cooked through. If you want the more pinoy version, you use some vegetable oil, saute the chicken until browned, add many of the same ingredients above except the paprika and use tomato sauce and a splash of patis for saltiness. Bay leaves are another flavor option. A splash of vinegar or wine makes this closer to a “cacciatore” style of chicken. I would even experiment with mushrooms if you like them. Those needing color and vitamins add green peas. The variations are many and I like almost all of them! Despite having starch from the potatoes, serve this with lots of rice. I like to put the tomato-ey sauce on the rice….yum!