If you love chicken you will love this authentic Jamaican brown stew chicken recipe. The chicken is lightly fried, then braise down in a nice savoury sauce, which you can pour over your rice or whatever you are serving with this chicken dish. There is no time like the present to have one of Jamaica’s favourite dishes.
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
Packed with flavour from traditional spices this mouthwatering dish will be a catch with the whole family.
Just like Jamaican curry chicken, the chicken is de-skinned, washed with lime and chopped into small pieces, seasoned and cooked down in a tasty sauce.
Why does my brown stew chicken taste bitter
Your brown stew chicken will taste bitter if you have added too much of the browning sauce to the chicken. The browning sauce is made from caramelised sugar, and too much makes whatever you are cooking taste bitter.
If instead, you used brown sugar to brown the chicken and the stew tasted bitter, it is because you burnt the sugar for too long before adding the chicken.
Follow the recipe below, and you won’t have a problem getting your Jamaican stew chicken tasting great.
What Goes In It
Here are the ingredients required for Jamaican brown stew chicken:
- Chicken: In Jamaican, we use the whole chicken when making brown stew chicken, which means the chicken back and breast is in the finished dish. As the chicken is cooked for more than 30 minutes, the breast may be a little chewy for some. If you don’t want this, use chicken pieces. Also, skin-less chicken works better for this dish.
- Powder seasoning: Use chicken, poultry or all-purpose seasoning.
- Jamaican flavour: Scallion, thyme and scotch bonnet pepper add that “Jamaican” flavour to the dish. If you use fresh or dry thyme, it does matter as you will still get the Jamaican flavour.
- Bell pepper, onion, tomato, garlic: The traditional vegetables are included in the sauce. These are cooked really soft you can barely see them when the stew is finished.
- Oops! I missed some: Missing from the image above is pimento (allspice), ginger, and chicken stock/broth. I used Knorr stock pot chicken.
How To Cook Brown Stew Chicken
In a nutshell, brown stew chicken is made by browning chicken pieces, then braising them in a savoury sauce with vegetables thickened with ketchup.
- Remove skin: After washing the chicken with lime and vinegar, remove the skin. This dish is best with skin-less chicken.
- Season well: Season with salt, chicken seasoning, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, garlic, onion, scallion, thyme, pimento, and browning sauce.
- Marinate: For maximum flavour, leave to marinate for at least an hour.
- Prepare to cook: Once you are ready to cook, separate the marinade from the chicken but do not worry about trying to get this perfect. Just separate the bigger pieces of onion, scallion, thyme etc.
- Brown chicken: In a large pot that has a lid, heat enough oil over medium-high heat. In batches, cook the chicken for about 3 minutes on each side, until nice and golden.
- Prepare the sauce: Add water, bell pepper, tomato, chicken stock, salt, ketchup and the marinade you separated earlier. Once the liquid is hot and starts boiling, add the chicken.
- Let it simmer: Cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes.
Brown Stew Chicken Without Browning
Browning sauce helps to give the chicken its golden brown colour helps to give the chicken its golden brown colour. If you want to cook brown stew chicken without using the browning sauce, there are a few options.
You can eliminate it from the recipe and only brown the chicken in the oil before braising down. The only issue is that your stew will not have the colour Jamaican brown stew chicken is known to have.
The next option is to add a small amount of brown sugar to the oil, let it melt then add the chicken to brown. Browning sauce is basically burnt brown sugar, which means you are making your own browning sauce. If your reason to eliminate browning from the recipe is to avoid sugar, then this option is not for you.
Lastly, you could use soy or oyster sauce, but your brown stew chicken won’t have that authentic Jamaican taste.
What To Serve It With
Chicken basically goes with anything, whether it is fried or brown stew. What you serve brown stew chicken with depends on the day you are serving it.
Don’t feel like having rice, brown stew chicken also goes well with hard food.
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Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- 938 g (2.07 lb) Chicken
- 40 g (1.41 oz) Chopped onion
- 2 Garlic cloves crushed
- 125 g (4.41 oz) Chopped bell pepper
- 76 g (2.68 oz) Chopped tomatoe
- 30 g (1.06 oz) Chopped scallion
- ¼ Scotch Bonnet Pepper seeds removed and finely chopped
- 3 Sprigs thyme
- 5 Pimento berries (allspice)
- 4 g (0.14 oz) Grated ginger
- 3 tsp All purpose/chicken seasoning
- 1 ½ tsp Browning sauce
- 4 tbsp ketchup
- ½ cube Chicken stock I used Knorr stock pot chicken
- 2 ½ tsp Salt
- 1 cup Cooking oil
- 1 cup Water
- Clean the chicken (remove skin and fat) and wash it in water with lime/lemon juice.
- Drain away as much of the excess water from the chicken, dry and chop into small pieces.
- Add onion, garlic, scallion, scotch bonnet pepper, thyme, pimento berries, ginger, chicken seasoning, ½ tsp of salt and the browning sauce to the chicken, rubbing all the ingredients into the chicken, making sure all pieces are well coated. (For maximum flavour, leave to marinate for at least an hour).
- For maximum flavour, leave to marinate for at least an hour.
- Separate the green seasoning (onion, thyme, scallion, garlic and pimento) from the chicken. Don't try to be perfect, as some of the seasonings will be too small.
- Heat oil in a large cast-iron pot over medium-high heat and add chicken brown for about 3 minutes on all sides.
- You may have to brown the chicken in batches.
- Add 2 ½ cups of water, the green ingredients you separated earlier, bell pepper, tomato, chicken stock, ketchup, cover the pot and bring to a boil. (At this point, taste the sauce if flavoured to your liking, add salt as needed).
- Add the chicken, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Once the liquid reduces and the gravy thickens, your Jamaican stew chicken is ready!
- If you eat the chicken skin, you don’t have to remove it.
- You can use more or less scotch bonnet pepper if you want the stew more or less spicy.
- The ketchup help to thicken the sauce and adds a hint of sweetness. If you decide not to use the ketchup, use cornstarch to thicken the sauce and add a little brown sugar for sweetness.