Beer chicken   
Seco de Gallina - Ecuadorian Recipe​​

This dish is traditionally popular in Ecuador and can be prepared with chicken, lamb or duck. Originally this meal was prepared with chicha or naranjilla for their bittersweet flavors, but many people now use beer as a replacement for the chicha or naranjilla. If you really like the bittersweet flavors you can also add 2 allspices, 2 cloves, and a tablespoon of brown sugar.   If the chicken is free range the cooking time may increase about 40 minutes or until chicken is tender.

Prep Time

​ minutes

Cook Time

35 - 40
​ minutes



En Español

  • 4 large chicken breast (about 1 ½ pounds)
  • 6 drumsticks (about 2 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons of achiote oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 1 large green pepper, minced
  • 1 tomato, minced
  • ¾ cup, finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 cup + 1 tablespoon of lager beer or naranjilla (lulo) juice
  • 1tsp cumin
  • ​1tsp oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Kosher Salt & black pepper to taste

Get all your ingredients ready!
1.  Place a large saucepan over medium heat and add the achiote oil, when the oil is hot add the minced garlic, finely chopped onion, green pepper, tomato and cilantro, sauté for 5 minutes.
2.  Add the chicken drumstick, beer, kosher salt, black pepper, cumin and red cayenne pepper. Cover and cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes to let the flavors blend, remove the lid, stir, then partially cover the saucepan and simmer for 5 more minutes.
3.  Meanwhile butterfly the chicken breast then cut in half that way it cooks evenly.  Take the lid off stir again than add the chicken breast and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until the chicken is tender.
4.  The liquid reduces to a semi-thick sauce consistency as it cooks, if the chicken is tender and the sauce isn't thick yet, remove the chicken, then cook the sauce stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.  Serve with yellow rice; sauté the rice with some annatto oil before cooking to give it the yellow color.

Cook's Notes

  • Any lighter beer like a lager or pilsener can be used in this recipe. Avoid heavier or high alcohol type of beers.
  • The beer chicken can be made up to 2 days ahead.  Cool uncovered and refrigerate, covered.  Reheat in a saucepan with 1/2 cup of water, covered over low heat.