The Best Pan con Pollo | Shredded Chicken Sandwich

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This hearty chicken stew for Pan con Pollo, made with rotisserie chicken, is a one-pot meal that can be on the table in under an hour to make a flavorful smothered chicken Sandwich that will melt in your mouth as you bite into it.

I’ve made countless chicken stew recipes for Pan con Pollo over the years, ranging from dumping it all into one pot to more authentic and time-consuming versions, and this is one of our favorite.

My recipe is not only quick and easy but also takes a few clever shortcuts, making it doable on a weeknight yet tastes as good as the Traditional Pan Con Pollo from your favorite Salvadorian restaurant. It is made with fully cooked rotisserie chicken and flavors that my family and I love. It’s delicious, easy, and quick, allowing you to spend more time making a delicious homemade sauce to smother the chicken in.

You can also use this sauce to make a delicious Shredded Turkey Sandwich “Pan con Pavo” with leftover Thanksgiving turkey.😏 There are a few reasons why you should make this “Pan con Pollo” Shredded Chicken Sandwich recipe:

  1. It starts with a rotisserie chicken, which is a great base for quick meals.
  2. The sauce is quick and easy to make with pantry ingredients, so you probably always have them on hand.
  3. You avoid that time-consuming chore.
  4. This Pan con Pollo is delicious, so give it a try, and you won’t regret it.

The Best Pan con Pollo | Shredded Chicken Sandwich

What is Pan con Pollo?

Pan Con Pollo, also known as Panes con Pollo, is a hot sandwich: Traditionally served in a submarine bread and is stuffed with shredded chicken or turkey, and fresh vegetables, such as fresh tomato, cucumbers, raw onion, watercress, and shredded cabbage.

Throughout Latin America, you’ll find many different kinds of pan con Pollo and cooking methods used to make them. Yet, most variations have their roots in the same place: El Salvador. The most common Pan con Pollo filling back then was chicken simmered in tomato sauce and spices. Almost every country in the world now has its version of the dish. Take, for example, El Salvador.

A traditional Pan con Pollo is made with a tomato-based sauce and various meat fillings, including turkey. Hard-boiled eggs may also be included in the sandwich. Different regions of the country take different approaches to the cooking process.

As a result, Pan con Pollo is known by many other names depending on where you are in the world. For example, central Americans have given them names such as Panes Relleno, Panes con Gallina, Panes con Pollo, etc. At the same time, in South America, they’re known as Pan con Pollo.

The beauty of this dish is that there are no wrong or right ways to prepare it. Instead, you’ll find that it’s prepared differently in various regions and cultures. Although modern kitchen appliances have made Pan con Pollo at home easier than ever before, this wasn’t always the case.

They were once tricky and time-consuming to prepare, even though they are now everyday weeknight dinners in many households. These cooking methods are still practiced and preserved in many cultures today. For example, in El Salvador, Panes Relleno is always cooked from scratch using a whole chicken. In this region, Pan with Pollo is generally loaded with chicken or turkey.

Pan con Pollo is not only crowd-pleasing but also customizable: This means you can satisfy carnivores with meat or vegetarians with a veggies alternative. As I previously said, there is no right or wrong method to prepare a Pan con Pollo. However, this easy step-by-step recipe provides the basic approach that you may follow to get started.

This Pan con Pollo is a classic favorite made with store-bought rotisserie chicken, though you can swap the meat for any other filling you’d like.

The Best Pan con Pollo | Shredded Chicken Sandwich

Main Ingredients for the Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo.”

  • Chicken: you can either use leftover roasted chicken or turkey, rotisserie chicken, or make it fresh.
  • Fresh Vegetables: I use a combination of onion, tomatoes, and poblano pepper.
  • Seasonings: I use sazon goya culantro y achiote and knorr chicken flavor bouillon.
  • Bread: The classic way to serve a shredded chicken sandwich is on hefty bread such as Bolillo or hoagie.
  • Toppings: cabbage, Watercress, cucumbers, radishes, mayonnaise, onion, cut in half, and yellow mustard.

How to Make the Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo.”

  • Combine: Make the sauce; add the store-bought rotisserie chicken (*Disassemble the chicken into large pieces).
  • Cook: Cover and cook for about 30 minutes over medium heat until the sauce thickens. 
  • Serve: Mound the shredded chicken into each bun, scoop a small spoonful of sauce onto each sandwich, and top with watercress or cilantro. 

Can I use Raw Chicken Instead of Rotisserie Chicken?

Absolutely, keep in mind that you have to cut the chicken, brown them (if you want to give them more flavor), then add all the ingredients of the sauce and cook until the meat is falling off the bone tender and the liquid reduces by half and thickens about 1 hour 10 minutes.

How to shred the Chicken

Once cooled, remove the bones and discard them. Then, using two forks or your hands, shred the chicken into bite-size pieces.

How to Store the Pan Con Pollo Sauce

Store leftover Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo” sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 days.

Tips for Making the Best Pan Con Pollo

  • If you’d like the sauce thicker, cook a little more until it is the consistency you’d like.
  • Refrigerate the leftover filling for up to 3 days. Assemble the sandwiches just before serving.
  • Rewarm the filling over the stove or gently in the microwave.
  • The sauce is done when the sauce is thickened and no longer watery.
  • Alternatively, you can pull the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones before adding to the sauce, if desire.

The Best Pan con Pollo | Shredded Chicken Sandwich

Ingredients for the Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo.”

For the Sauce:

To Assemble:

  • 8 or more large hoagie, submarine, bolillo rolls, or french rolls, as needed 
  • 1 small cabbage, shredded or 16 leaves remain lettuce (left whole)
  • 1 bunch of Watercress or Cilantro
  • 2 cucumbers, unpeeled and sliced in thin slices
  • 8 radishes, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise, to taste
  • 1 large white or red onion, cut in half, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup yellow mustard, to taste

How to Make Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo.”

Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the chile arbolchile guajilloChile Pasilla, and chile ancho and saute, frequently stirring for 1 to 2 minutes or until the oil begins to turn a bit orange from the chiles; remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.

Add the garlic, fresh tomatoes, poblanos pepper, and onion, and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables soften, occasionally stirring about 5 minutes. Return the chiles into the saucepan and add the crushed canned tomato, water; season with chicken bouillon, sazon goya culantro y achiote, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low (stirring and constantly scraping the bottom of the pan).

Using an immersion blender or a standard blender, process the mixture in batches until smooth enough for your taste. If using a standard blender, take care not to fill the jar more than half full per batch, leave the hole in the lid open, cover with a clean dishtowel to allow the heat to escape), and pour it back into the saucepan. 

Add the disassembled bone-in rotisserie chicken and bay leaves to the saucepan to help the sauce develop more flavor, and bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, occasionally stirring, until it has deepened in color and reduced slightly, about 30 minutes (if the sauce begins to scorch, lower the heat). The sauce is done when the sauce is thickened and no longer watery. 

Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Remove the bay leaves along with the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Shred into bite-size pieces using your hands or two forks, discarding the bones, and return the meat to the pot.

To assemble the Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo.”

On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, assemble all vegetables. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400° F

Toast your Bolillo Rolls on the middle rack of the oven, either on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or directly on the grates, for about 10 minutes, flipping it halfway through.

Place toasted Bolillo Rolls on each plate, cut lengthwise, and spread mayonnaise on one side of the bread. The other side spread mustard, top each bread with shredded cabbage or two pieces of lettuces, cucumber slices, a couple of onions, and radish slices.

Mound the shredded chicken into each bun, scoop a small spoonful of sauce onto each sandwich, and top with watercress or cilantro. Repeat the process with the remaining Bolillo Rolls. Buen provecho! 😋🍻

Notes:

  • How to disassemble a Rotisserie Chicken: Place the chicken breast side up, run a knife down the center of the chicken, and find the bone. Cut just off to one side and slice top-to-bottom down the bone. Next, run the knife down the other side of the breast, along the leg and wing, cutting between the leg/wing and breast. The whole breast should be removed easily now. Repeat on the other side. Gently pull the leg from the joint until it separates. If it doesn’t come easily, you can use your knife and place a little pressure on the joint to help it come free. Repeat the process for the wings. Alternatively, you can pull the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones before adding it to the sauce. However, I highly recommend disassembling the chicken and leaving the bone to help develop more flavor in the sauce.
  • Store leftover Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo” sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three days.
  • When blending hot liquid, let it cool for five minutes, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters and pulse until smooth.

Try these great chicken recipes:


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Shredded Chicken Sandwich “Pan con Pollo.”

Shredded Chicken Sandwich "Pan con Pollo"

This hearty chicken stew for Pan con Pollo, made with rotisserie chicken, is a one-pot meal that can be on the table in under an hour to make a flavorful smothered chicken Sandwich that will melt in your mouth as you bite into it.
Servings 12 people
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr

Ingredients

For the Sauce:

  • 8 fresh tomatoes , chopped
  • 1- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , olive oil, canola, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 Poblano pepper or bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 8 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Kosher salt , to taste
  • 3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Chile Ancho
  • 1 Chile Guajillo or Chile California
  • 1 Chile Pasilla
  • 3 Chile Arbol
  • 1 packets sazon goya culantro y achiote
  • 2 tablespoons knorr chicken flavor bouillon
  • 1 store-bought rotisserie chicken ,Disassemble the chicken into large pieces or leftover turkey from Thanksgiving

To Assemble:

  • 8 or more large hoagie , submarine, bolillo rolls, or french rolls, as needed
  • 1 small cabbage , shredded or 16 leaves remain lettuce (left whole)
  • 1 bunch of Watercress or Cilantro
  • 2 cucumbers , unpeeled and sliced in thin slices
  • 8 radishes , thinly sliced
  • 1 cup mayonnaise , to taste
  • 1 large white or red onion , cut in half, and thinly sliced
  • 1 cup yellow mustard , to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a large saucepan. When hot, add the chile arbol, chile guajillo, Chile Pasilla, and chile ancho and saute, frequently stirring for 1 to 2 minutes or until the oil begins to turn a bit orange from the chiles; remove them from the pot with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  • Add the garlic, fresh tomatoes, poblanos pepper, and onion, and cook over medium-low heat until the vegetables soften, occasionally stirring about 5 minutes. Return the chiles into the saucepan and add the crushed canned tomato, water; season with chicken bouillon, sazon goya culantro y achiote, sugar, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to taste. Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to low (stirring and constantly scraping the bottom of the pan).
  • Using an immersion blender or a standard blender, process the mixture in batches until smooth enough for your taste. If using a standard blender, take care not to fill the jar more than half full per batch, leave the hole in the lid open, cover with a clean dishtowel to allow the heat to escape), and pour it back into the saucepan.
  • Add the disassembled bone-in rotisserie chicken and bay leaves to the saucepan to help the sauce develop more flavor, and bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, occasionally stirring, until it has deepened in color and reduced slightly, about 30 minutes (if the sauce begins to scorch, lower the heat). The sauce is done when the sauce is thickened and no longer watery.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper, if needed. Remove the bay leaves along with the chicken and set aside until cool enough to handle. Shred into bite-size pieces using your hands or two forks, discarding the bones, and return the meat to the pot.

To Assemble the Shredded Chicken Sandwich "Pan con Pollo."

  • On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, assemble all vegetables. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 400° F
  • Toast your Bolillo Rolls on the middle rack of the oven, either on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper or directly on the grates, for about 10 minutes, flipping it halfway through.
  • Place toasted Bolillo Rolls on each plate, cut lengthwise, and spread mayonnaise on one side of the bread. The other side spread mustard, top each bread with shredded cabbage or two pieces of lettuces, cucumber slices, a couple of onions, a couple of radish slices.
  • Mound the shredded chicken into each bun, scoop a small spoonful of sauce onto each of the sandwiches, and top with watercress or cilantro. Repeat the process with the remaining Bolillo Rolls. Buen provecho!

Notes

  • How to disassemble a Rotisserie Chicken: Place the chicken breast side up, run a knife down the center of the chicken, and find the bone. Cut just off to one side and slice top-to-bottom down the bone. Next, run the knife down the other side of the breast, along the leg and wing, cutting between the leg/wing and breast.
  • The whole breast should be removed easily now. Repeat on the other side. Gently pull the leg from the joint until it separates. If it doesn't come easily, you can use your knife and place a little pressure on the joint to help it come free. Repeat the process for the wings. Alternatively, you can pull the meat from the chicken, discarding the skin and bones before adding it to the sauce. However, I highly recommend disassembling the chicken and leaving the bone to help develop more flavor in the sauce.
  • Store leftover Shredded Chicken Sandwich "Pan con Pollo" sauce in the refrigerator in an airtight container for three days.
  • When blending hot liquid, first let it cool for five minutes or so, then transfer it to a blender, filling only halfway. Put the lid on, leaving one corner open. Cover the lid with a kitchen towel to catch splatters and pulse until smooth.
Author: Camila Benitez
Calories: 400kcal
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Salvadoran
Keyword: Pan con Pollo, Shredded Chicken Sandwich

 

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