Brown Stew! Nah.. that’s another recipe altogether, but for some it may be how they would recognize or identify this dish. Stew Chicken (don’t say stewed) is as classic a recipe gets, when it comes to Caribbean culinary culture. Loaded with deep flavors of herbs, ginger and caramelized sugar, braised until the chicken is falling apart and a dish you’d readily prepare when hosting guests.
For those weekdays when mom didn’t have enough chicken to make a complete dish, she would toss in potatoes to stretch it for our family of six.
4 lbs boneless chicken thighs (bone in works excellent also)
1 heaping tablespoon Caribbean Green Seasoning
3/4 tablespoon salt (adjust)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 scotch bonnet pepper (* optional | sliced thin)
1 med tomato (diced)
1 medium onion (diced)
5 medium potatoes (1/4)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon golden brown sugar
3-4 cups water
2 tablespoon parsley (chopped)
Important! If making this dish gluten free, please go through the full list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs. Especially the Worcestershire Sauce, which can be left out if it’s an issue.
Season the chicken (2-3 inch size pieces) with the salt, Worcestershire Sauce, tomato, onion, ginger, Caribbean green seasoning, black pepper and scotch bonnet pepper. Add as much scotch bonnet as you can handle or use a spicy pepper you like or can source. Yes, Habanero works great too. As always, wash your hands with soap and water after handling spicy peppers.
Allow the chicken to marinate for 1-2 hours or overnight if you have the time.
Heat the oil in a heavy pot or a medium high flame, then add the brown sugar. This is the most critical part of the recipe, so may I recommend that you watch the video below to follow along. The sugar will melt, go frothy, then amber and onto a deep amber. At this point you will add the seasoned chicken to the pot (being careful) and stir well. The goal is to coat the chicken with the caramelized sugar. No the dish will NOT be sweet.
Should the sugar go beyond dark amber = BLACK! STOP.. cool the pot down completely, wash, dry and repeat, black or burnt sugar will give the dish a bitter taste. While the sugar was melting and going to the desired color, I constantly stirred the pot (DRY Spoon).
With the heat still on high, bring to a boil (lid on). Yes, it will produce it’s on natural juices.
After 3-5 minutes you can now remove the lid and try to burn off that liquid. That will intensify the color and flavor. It will take about 3-5 minutes.
In the same bowl you marinated the chicken, swish around 3 cups of water to pick up any remaining marinade.
With the chicken now browned and there’s no liquid, add the potato to the pot and stir well.
Then add the water (from the bowl) to the pot and bring up to a boil. If you find that the potatoes are not covered, add the 4th cup of water.
On a high heat it will come to a boil in about 3 minutes. Turn the heat down to a rolling boil, place the lid on slightly ajar and let it go until the chicken is fully cooked and the potato falling apart.
I purposely put the potato in large pieces as I wanted to maintain it’s shape, even when cooked. BUT.. near the end I was a bit vigorous when I stirred the pot to gently bruise them so it would release it’s starch and thicken the gravy.
Time for you to determine if the gravy is thick enough for your liking and do taste and adjust the salt level. Be mindful that as the dish cools, it will naturally thicken too.
Toss in the parsley and get ready to enjoy an incredible meal. Well, you’ll need some steamed rice, roti or even as a topping for pasta tossed in butter. Yea, mac and cheese would be elevated with this as a side.
Back to mom and not having enough chicken. It wasn’t that we didn’t have enough, but a matter of her planning her weekly menu. On the weekend we’d butcher two large chickens. The first would be for the large Sunday lunch (biggest meal of the week in Trinidad and Tobago) and the other bird would be divided in half. Those two halves of chicken would make it’s way into two different meals.
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