Poul Nan Sos (Haitian Chicken in Sauce)


When I was a kid, we often left Queens on Sunday mornings to visit Mémère, my paternal grandmother, in New Jersey. Along with warm kisses and a few words of broken English, this chicken stew would greet us. Its official name (poul nan sos in Haitian Creole, or "chicken in sauce") is quite an understatement. The meat is marinated overnight with onions, garlic, thyme, and chiles along with citrus, and then rubbed forcefully onto the chicken to access the fragrant oils. After the meat takes on all that flavor, it's stewed with the marinade and loads of bell peppers for a satisfying, thrilling stew. This dish is Haiti, something we make time and time again. I suspect you will, too.

Poul Nan Sos (Haitian Chicken in Sauce)
Photo: Eva Kosmas Flores
Active Time:
45 mins
Marinate Time:
12 hrs
Total Time:
13 hrs 45 mins
4 to 6 servings


For the Marinade

  • 3 pounds mixed bone-in chicken thighs and drumsticks, patted dry

  • 3 tablespoons kosher salt

  • 1 juicy orange, halved

  • 1 juicy lime, halved

  • 1 juicy lemon, halved

  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved and thinly sliced

  • 8 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 2 Scotch bonnet or habanero chiles, cut in half and sliced thin

  • ¼ cup fresh thyme leaves

For the Stew

  • .333333 cup extra-virgin olive oil

  • ½ cup tomato paste

  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt

  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and deveined, cut into long, thin slices

  • 2 yellow bell peppers, seeded and deveined, cut into long, thin slices

  • 2 cups chicken stock, salted homemade or store-bought

  • Small handful roughly chopped parsley sprigs


  1. Put the chicken pieces in a large bowl and season with the salt. Squeeze the citrus halves over the chicken, then spend a minute or so rubbing the cut sides of the citrus against the chicken. Add the onions, garlic, chile, and thyme and toss well, rubbing the chicken as you do. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least 12 hours or up to 48 hours.

  2. Preheat the oven to 375F. Remove the chicken from the marinade, guiding any stuck-on aromatics back into the bowl. Set a strainer over a small mixing bowl. Pour the marinade through the strainer, reserving the solids and liquid. Pat the chicken very dry with paper towels.

  3. Heat the oil in a wide heavy, ovenproof pot (such as a 3 1/2-quart braiser) over medium-high heat just until shimmery. Cook the chicken, skin-side down, occasionally turning the drumsticks but not the thighs, until the skin is deep brown, about 8 minutes. Transfer the chicken pieces to a plate.

  4. Reduce the heat to medium-low, add the tomato paste and salt, and cook, stirring often, until it turns several shades darker, about 3 minutes. Add the bell peppers and the reserved solids from the marinade, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers soften slightly and take on a little color, about 8 to 10 minutes.

  5. Return the chicken to the pan, skin side up and in a single layer, then take a minute to pile the peppers, onions, and other aromatics on top of the chicken. Then evenly pour in the reserved liquid from the marinade along with the stock. Cook in the oven, basting every 15 minutes to coat the chicken with the peppers and sauce, until the sauce has thickened slightly and the meat pulls off the bone with a gentle tug from a fork, about 1 hour. Garnish with the parsley and serve.


From the book Everyone's Table by Gregory Gourdet and JJ Goode. Copyright © 2021 by Gregory Gourdet and JJ Goode. Published by Harper Wave an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Reprinted by permission.

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