Dish-Flop: Gallina en Huarache, or Chicken in Sandals

Have you ever been excited about a dish and after it was cooked it was SO not what you thought it was going to be, but in a bad way?

That was this dish for me.


Chicken in Sandals. Gallina en Huarache.

I have no history or anything on this dish for you. I could barely find a recipe, but I got the idea from MEXICO: The Cookbook by Margarita Arronte as I was putzing through Barnes & Noble a few months ago and based solely on the name, I wanted to make it (even though the thought of chicken in sandals is appalling to me given the fact that animals dressed in any sort of clothing is one of my biggest pet peeves in life). I made a note in my phone to look it up and when I went to search, only one version, in Spanish, popped up. Using my roughly translated recipe (what do you think “one onion girl” was supposed to say?), I threw together what seemed like a dish that would be easy (which it was) and well-balanced in flavors (sweet and savory, spicy and rich). The result was something that tasted sort of muddy to me, with an overly thick, goopy sauce.


In fact, I disliked this dish so much that after plating and tasting and re-tasting the sauce, I ended up rinsing off the chicken and re-used it to make some Cock-a-leekie Soup. I really did.

I don’t think I did anything wrong. I didn’t use a particular cheap and gross bottle of wine, and all the other flavors in theory should have worked well together. I don’t know. Just not my cup of tea.  The dish’s saving grace that I served it atop the creamiest polenta made in the slow cooker. THAT, I devoured shamelessly. 


If you want to give this recipe a try and tell me that I’m wrong, go for it. If you have a good, tried and true recipe for Chicken in Sandals, I’d love to hear it.


Chicken in Sandals
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Total Time
1 hr 30 min
Total Time
1 hr 30 min
  1. 1 whole chicken, about 4 pounds washed
  2. 4 ounces smoked ham
  3. 1 large link smoked chorizo
  4. 3 slices pineapple
  5. 1/2 apple, sliced
  6. 1/2 pear, sliced
  7. 1/2 sweet potato, sliced
  8. pinch saffron
  9. 1 tsp capers, minced
  10. 1 clove
  11. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  12. salt and pepper, as needed
  13. 1 bottle red wine
  14. 1 tomato, large
  15. 1 onion, sliced
  16. 4 cloves garlic
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a large dutch oven, layer all the ingredients, including the spices, but excluding the chicken and wine.
  3. Wash and clean the chicken well. Cut as necessary to fit in the dutch oven so that it can be covered.
  4. Pour enough wine to cover everything (I used the whole bottle) and cover the dutch oven.
  5. Bake until the chicken falls apart, about an hour.
  6. Serve atop polenta. If you desire a thicker sauce, strain it and reduce to desired thickness.
Adapted from Mexican Cuisine
Adapted from Mexican Cuisine
The Hungary Buddha Eats the World

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4 thoughts on “Dish-Flop: Gallina en Huarache, or Chicken in Sandals”

  • I’m fairly certain “one onion girl” is to be read sassily “one, onion, guuuurl!” ha. too bad it didn’t work out but a rich sauce on top of polenta is delish.

    • Of course! “Gurlfriend” mode was turned off in my brain when I was making this 🙂 And yes, the polenta I devoured in 0.025 seconds. Have a safe trip home!

  • Hi Chrissy, I found your post during googling pictures of the dish after spotting it in Mexico The Cookbook. I just noted that there are major differences compared to the books recipe: the meat is cooked for a few minutes before the fruit is added. Also, the meat is cooked through after the main part of the sauce is removed with just 1 cup wine. Maybe this solves the problem of gloopyness? Just as a thought! 🙂

    • Hi Sabrina- thanks for the tip and maybe I’ll give it another go next time. I was just so shocked it came out so bad- it seemed pretty foolproof. You’ve given me reason to try again!

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