Though this recipe was not passed down from my mom, the technique and basic principles I did learn from watching her prepare this amazing dish. Quite honestly, this is my favorite dish and it’s cooked at least once a week at home. Served with sliced avocado, cucumber and tomato on a heaping bed of brown rice. Just thinking about it, makes the greedy juices in my mouth flow.
Though you may have heard that “browning” the meat can be difficult, this is a very simple and easy recipe to follow. With the aid of pictures I’ll show you how easy it is to brown or caramelize the chicken, so everything turns out perfect
1 (4-5 pounds) whole chicken, cut into pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
2 cloves of garlic – thinly sliced or crushed
1 teaspoon fresh/bottled ginger – crushed. (use 1/2 if it’s ginger powder)
2 tablespoon vegetable oil (one that can withstand high heat)
1 medium onion – chopped
1 medium tomato – chopped
2-3 tablespoon cilantro (or 2 tbs Trinidad green meat seasoning)
2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 hot pepper (only if you like your food spicy)
1 green onion or chive – chopped
2 sprigs of fresh thyme (1 teaspoon dried)
1 lime or lemon or 3 tablespoons of vinegar
Lets get started…
Preparing the chicken. Cut or ask your butcher to cut the chicken into serving size pieces. In a bowl empty the cut chicken and squeeze the lime or lemon (or vinegar) onto the chicken, then add some water from your tap to cover the pieces of chicken. Now wash each piece individually, removing skin and any fat (we’ll try to keep this a bit healthy). Now rinse with a new batch of water and drain.
Now in the same bowl with the freshly washed chicken you’ll add ALL the ingredients EXCEPT the oil, sugar and cup of water, we’ll be using those to cook the chicken. Here’s what it should look like (remember to mix everything around and let it sit (marinate) in the fridge for about 1hr before cooking.
FYI, you’ve just seasoned the chicken. After about an hour or so it time to get things moving. It’s best if you could find a solid or heavy pan/pot, like a dutch oven for the actual cooking process. The heavier the pan, the better the oil will heat evenly and the chicken will caramelize for you. On high heat, add the oil to the pan. Just before the oil starts to smoke, add the brown sugar. TIP – be sure to have the seasoned chicken handy, use a long handle spoon (it will get hot) and oven mitts to hold onto the pot to turn the pieces of chicken to get it evenly coated. It’s important that you keep an eye on things and be ready to act fast. Next tip – it can get a bit smoky with the high heat at this point, so you may want to turn the exhaust fan over your stove on or open a window in the event you have smoke detectors installed.
Here’s a pic of adding the sugar to the hot oil.
Move around the sugar in the pot (remember to use a dry spoon with a long handle), until it starts to melt. Now keep a close eye on things here, since you’re looking for the sugar to go a bit foamy, and change color to golden. See pic below. Notice the bottom left of the picture where the sugar appears a bit darker? That’s the exact color you’re looking for before adding the chicken.
At this point you can start adding the pieces of chicken into the pot with the caramelized sugar. Try to be quick, since you don’t want the sugar to go much darker than in the picture above. Be sure to coat every piece of chicken so it “browns” evenly. Now cover the pot and let simmer for about 5 -10 minutes. you’ll notice that the pot will now have some excess water in it.
Remove the lid and turn the heat back up to high. Let’s get rid of that water that formed earlier.We’re ensuring that all the pieces of meat is nice an golden brown at this point. Ensure that there’s no water left in the pot.. it will seems as if it’s starting to stick or burn.
Now add the cup of water to the bowl that contained the seasoned chicken. Swish it around so you get all the seasoning bits that were left back. Add this water to the pot so you can continue cooking the chicken for another 25 minutes or so. Turn the heat back down to a simmer and let cook until the water thickens up to a nice gravy like consistency.
Salt – be sure to taste near the end to add extra salt as to your liking.
Sauce – my mom hates allowing any form of sauce with her stew chicken, she like it to “fry down” so it dry. Makes for a more unique and traditional flavor. But I like to leave it with sauce or gravy so I can put it on a bed of brown rice.
Questions? Leave me a comment below and I’ll try my best to help you as best as I can.
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