Brown Stew Chicken is a staple Jamaican dish andsomething that I usually eat for Sunday dinner with some Rice & Peas. Although it is not as straight forward as something like curry chicken, it is still a pretty simple dish to make and extremely flavourful.
As with my Curry Chicken, I always prefer to use chopped up pieces of chicken as opposed to whole pieces as I think it just hits different! Of course though this is just my personal preference and how I always ate it growing up.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 45 mins
8 pieces of chicken (4 legs & 4 thighs)
1 carrot, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 large scallion, squashed
½ red pepper, chopped
¼ cho cho (chayote), chopped
10 sprigs of thyme (approx.)
6 bay leaves
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 Scotch Bonnet peppers
1 tbsp & 1 tsp ground pimento (allspice)
1 tbsp sea salt or to taste
1 tbsp mixed herbs
1 tbsp molasses
½ tbsp garlic granules
½ tbsp garlic purée
½ tbsp ginger purée
½ tbsp paprika
1-2 tsp Sarson’s gravy browning
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
½ tsp curry powder
1/3 cup (~80ml) sunflower oil
Clean your chicken and cut pieces into half using a very sharp knife or kitchen scissors.
Season the chicken pieces with the salt, paprika, black pepper, garlic granules, ginger powder, mixed herbs, curry powder, gravy browning and 1 tbsp ground pimento and mix well.
Chop the onion, garlic, tomato, sweet pepper, carrot, cho cho, thyme and scallion. Add to the meat and mix well.
Place the thyme and scallion on top of the meat and leave to marinate overnight or for as long as possible.
When ready to cook, heat the oil in the pot on a high heat.
Dust off as much of the vegetables from the chicken pieces as possible and brown the meat on a high heat for approx. 3 minutes on each side, until they look browned and slightly crispy.
Once browned, place in a seperate bowl from the vegetables.
After browning all of the chicken pieces, turn the heat down slightly to medium high, add in all the vegetables and sweat them for approx. 5 mins until they have softened and slightly caramelised.
Stir the vegetables and then add back in the chicken pieces and any juices that have accumulated in the bowl
Stir again so that it is mixed well and then add in the water.
Drop in your Scotch Bonnet pepper(s) and bay leaves, stir and then leave to simmer on a medium high heat for 10 mins.
After 10 mins, add in the garlic puree, ginger puree, Molasses and 1tsp pimento. Add salt if necessary.
Stir well and return to a medium high heat for 20 mins, stirring it every five minutes so that it doesn’t stick.
After 20 mins, the chicken should be cooked and the gravy will have thickened on its own.
Serve with rice and peas or plain rice, fried plantain and tomato salad or coleslaw.
It is important to use a light weight oil to brown the chicken; I even prefer sunflower oil over coconut oil as I find the coconut oil starts to froth during the browning process and I can’t stand it! I use 1/3 cup of oil for this amount of chicken as it means that I don’t have to remove any oil before adding in the water. Brown stew chicken is supposed to have a little oil on top as it adds to the flavour, but if you don’t really like this you can always skim it off the top during, or at the end of, the cooking process.
I almost always eat this on a Sunday, normally served with Rice & Peas, however I do enjoy it with boiled dumplings or roasted breadfruit from time to time 😋