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Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken - A Hearty Island Favorite

Brown stew chicken is a Caribbean tradition found in many versions throughout the islands.

The ingredients vary (as always), but the result is the same: a tasty dish that is warming and hearty. This Jamaican brown stew chicken version isn't quite what you might think; it's not a big simmering pot of poultry and veggies surrounded by bubbling broth. This recipe requires caramelizing the chicken first in brown sugar before adding tomatoes and some broth to cook down into a thicker dish that's served with rice.

First, it's important to get to the essence of this dish, which is the common denominator for all Caribbean recipes. The preparation must incorporate the heart and soul of the cook who's preparing a dish. When it's served, each person must understand that love and patience are as much a part of the taste as are the ingredients.

That's what sets Caribbean cooking apart.

I'll give you a list of other ingredients at the end of this recipe for mixing and matching, but here are the basics for making Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken.

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
Serves approx. 8

-8 boneless skinless chicken breasts (trim the fat if desired)
-1/2 cup lime juice
-3 stalks green onions (thinly sliced)
-1 medium green bell pepper
-4 Tbs. soy sauce
-1 tsp. dried thyme
-1 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
-2 garlic cloves (minced)

-2 Tbs. brown sugar (heaping)
-¼ cup olive oil (adjust as needed)

-1 large onion (chopped)
-¼ cup ketchup
-3 medium carrots (sliced)
-2 medium potatoes (large diced)
-2 14.5 oz. cans chopped or diced tomatoes
-2 cups chicken broth

Marinate the chicken breasts in the lime juice for about 2-4 hours.
Chop the onion, green onions, and bell pepper and mix together in a bowl. Add the soy, thyme, pepper and minced garlic. Blend thoroughly and add to the chicken to marinate overnight in the refrigerator (covered in a flat dish or in a large plastic baggie lying flat).

In a large skillet, heat the olive oil and add the brown sugar. Let it begin to caramelize, but be careful it doesn't burn. Reduce heat to medium and add the chicken, reserving the remaining marinade. Stir and turn continuously for about five minutes. Add the reserved marinade and the ketchup. Cook for another five minutes or so.

Pour the broth into a larger pot and bring to a boil. Add the chopped onions, carrots, potatoes and canned tomatoes. Transfer the contents of the skillet to this pot. Cover and let simmer for about an hour or until veggies are tender, but not mushy.

Serve with rice and peas (if desired). Traditionally, this dish is served with gungo, or pigeon peas.

Variations:
-Add the rice to the pot and let it cook along with the other ingredients.
-Skip the brown sugar for caramelizing, but brown the chicken, until it's browned nicely and crisp.

Ingredients you add include:
-rum (one shot - or more)
-celery
-coconut cream
-curry powder
-tomato sauce.

Of course, no Jamaican dish would be "complete" with some habaneros. Those are, as you know, for the brave. Try jalapenos for extra heat if you wish.

 

 

 

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