This recipe is one of my favorite dishes to prepare when I’m homesick or when things are not going well and I need a pick-me-up! It combines two dishes I just adore, Trinidad stew chicken and stewed red beans. Two things mom would cook on Sunday’s when the entire family were together… pure joy! It works well as a side to rice, roti, dumplings, ground provisions.. even pasta! And if you want you can add some coconut dumplings the last 10 minutes of cooking and make it a true one pot meal.
3 Lbs Chicken (I like using drum sticks)
1 scallion (chopped)
1 onion (diced)
3 cloves garlic (diced)
1 teaspoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
3 sprigs thyme
3 drops worcheshire sauce
1 small tomato (chopped)
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
2 cups water
1 can red kidney beans (rinsed/drained)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon veg oil
Wash and season the chicken with all the ingredients except, the water, beans, sugar and oil. Allow this to marinate for about 2 hrs or 15 minutes if you’re in a rush. Remember to wash your hands with soap and water after handling the scotch bonnet pepper and don’t include any of the seeds if you’re concerned about the raw heat.
Heat the oil in a deep pan on med/high, then add the sugar and stir well. Be sure to use a dry metal spoon and have the seasoned chicken close. This will all about timing for the ultimate flavor and color. As the sugar melts it will go liquid, then frothy and start changing color. Let it go until you have a rich amber color (NOT BLACK or it will taste burnt), then start adding the pieces of seasoned chicken to the pot. Mix as you do to coat the chicken pieces with the lovely caramelized colour. Don’t worry it won’t be sweet! Place the lid on the pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 5-8 minutes. It will spring it’s own juices.
Now remove the lid and turn up the heat to burn off any liquid. This will intensify the color and flavor of the chicken. As this cooks down, add the 2 cups of water to the bowl you had the chicken marinating in (to pick up any remaining marinade) and rinse off the red beans.
With all the liquid gone from the pot, add the water and top with the beans, then bring to a boil. Lid closed, simmer for 20 minutes until the chicken is fully cooked.
After 20 minutes or so, taste for salt and adjust accordingly and if you find that the gravy is a bit ‘thin’ turn up the heat (lid off) and reduce to the consistency you like. Personally I like it a bit thick. Remember that it will thicken up a bit as it cools.
This is a very comforting dish, packed with rich Caribbean flavors and it’s something your family will be asking for on the regular.