Seems the number one concern / problem people run into when it comes to cooking Caribbean style stew chicken, is the ‘browning’ step. Basically it involves melting brown sugar until it goes frothy, then amber in colour, before adding the seasoned chicken to the pot. If you allow it to go too long and you end up burning the sugar and thus bitter tasting chicken. Not enough time and you’ll have pale, bland tasting stew chicken. Today I’ve got a foolproof fix for this.
3-4 lbs chicken (thighs – skin + fat removed)
1 inch piece of ginger (sliced thin or grated)
1 1/2 tablespoon tomato ketchup
3 cloves garlic (crushed)
1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar
1 1/4 tablespoon dark soy sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper (sliced thin)
1 tablespoon veg oil
3/4 tablespoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 scallions (chopped)
1/2 medium tomato (diced)
3 sprigs thyme
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
3/4 cup water
Place the clean trimmed chicken pieces in a large bowl and get ready to marinate it for about 30 minutes. In another bowl, mix the ginger, ketchup, garlic, brown sugar, soy sauce,Worcestershire sauce, water and scotch bonnet pepper. Then pour half of the marinade over the chicken and mix. Marinate for about 30 minutes for best results. In my case I marinated it for 10 mins.
Heat a heavy/wide pan on a med/high flame, then go in with the veg oil. Now add the seasoned chicken to the pan and brown off. Don’t place a lid on the pan. The idea here is to develop some color by burning off all the liquid. Yes, I did allow the marinade to go into the pot as well.
It will take about 12-15 minutes to burn off all the liquid and get the chicken a nice color. Keep in mind that we’ve got sugar in the marinade so keep a close eye on things near the end (sugar burns).
In the same bowl you marinated the chicken in, swish around the 3/4 cup of water, then add it to the pan with the now browned chicken, along with the 1/2 marinade we reserved. Top it with the salt, black pepper, scallions, thyme, parsley and tomato. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid slightly ajar. The first step was to develop color and flavor and this second step is to ensure the chicken is fully cooked all the way through.
After about 15 minutes the chicken should be fully cooked (depending how big your chicken pieces are). It’s now time to personalize the dish by tasting for salt and adjusting, and you have the option of burning off the liquid until you get the gravy to a consistency you like. For me the 15 minutes did the job.
I like topping with some chopped scallions (or parsley) when I turn off the stove. Super-Simple and definitely foolproof when it comes to making Caribbean style stew chicken. Should you be intimidated in making stewed chicken, I guarantee you this will work for you.
Do you own a copy of my cookbook ?- The Vibrant Caribbean Pot 100 Traditional And Fusion recipes Vol 2