Brown stew chicken is a Jamaican dish that is fragrant, rich, bold & wonderfully spicy, my version adds a surprising & delicious ingredient.
This dish takes around 10 minutes to prepare and 50 minutes to cook, but it really benefits from a long marinade so you should get started the day before!
Jamaican Influenced Chicken Stew
I’ve been working on a few Caribbean-influenced recipes in recent months.
My latest offering is my take on a real Jamaican classic, brown stew chicken.
My version uses skinless chicken legs marinated in, garlic, chilli, allspice, brown sugar, thyme and of course browning. It’s then cooked until juicy and tender with loads of peppers and onions.
This dish is gloriously simple to make and wonderfully tasty. It is rich, and spicy but also fragrant and packed full of complimentary flavours that shine through the chilli heat from the Scotch bonnet peppers.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is “Browning”?
Browning is a deep and dark sugar and water mix that adds an incredible colour and deep rich flavour to food from across the Caribbean.
I try to use a brand called Tropical Sun because it does not contain salt, which allows me to season the dish to my taste.
However, Sarsons makes a version that works really well. It is commonly available on British supermarket shelves, just scale back the salt in the marinade by around a quarter.
Do I have to use Scotch bonnet chilli peppers?
No, but they are the traditional chilli used in brown stew chicken. I have a reasonable tolerance to chilli and find one scotch bonnet chilli in this recipe perfectly tolerable, I will often push it to two of them.
But you could change the chilli type without an issue.
Just a word of warning, whilst I don’t struggle with eating Scotch bonnet chilli peppers, the preparation has often made me cry! I usually wear gloves when chopping them.
Is HP Sauce a traditional addition?
No, tomato ketchup is often added to brown stew chicken but British “brown sauce” is not.
However, when I was growing up I had a friend whose family was from Trinidad and they loved HP sauce, it went in and on everything and it’s added here as a nod to that memory.
It’s also delicious and adds a rich sweet and sharp flavour to brown stew chicken and I love it.
Do I have to marinate the chicken?
Yes, if you can! You need to get a rich and dark outer layer to the chicken that caramelises when you fry it.
Aim for 4 hours as a minimum, I always do it overnight!
This Jamaican-influenced brown stew chicken is traditionally served with rice and peas and that’s how it is served in these pictures.
The rich sweet and spicy flavours of this recipe are particularly good with crispy salty potatoes… hey I’m British and we’ll eat chips with anything!
I only name-check brands of equipment if I think that they make a material difference to a recipe. But if you have any questions feel free to ask them in the comments section below the recipe.
- 30cm or 12″ frying pan or skillet (with a lid).
- Chopping board.
- Kitchen knife.
- Large freezer or sandwich bag, you could also use a Tupperware box.
- Weighing scales and or a combination of a measuring jug, cups and spoons.
- Kitchen tongs, stirring and serving spoons.
This Caribbean brown chicken stew is Jamaican in origin and it features a surprising British ingredient from my childhood.
- 2 Chicken Legs
- 375ml (1½ Cups) Chicken Stock
- 3 Tbsp HP (Brown) Sauce
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- 2 Small Bell Peppers
- 150g (1 Cup) Onion
- 3 Spring Onions
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1-2 Scotch Bonnet Chilli Peppers
- 1 Tsp Brown Sugar
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 Tbsp Jamaican Browning
- 1 Tsp Sweet Paprika
- 1 Tsp Salt
- ½ Tsp Black Pepper
- ½-¾ Tsp Ground Allspice (or 6 Allspice berries)
- Remove the skin from the chicken legs and separate them into thighs and drumsticks.
- Slice the spring onions into 1cm (just under ½") lengths at an angle.
- Dice the chilli as finely as possible (you decide whether you keep or discard the seeds).
- Crush and roughly chop the garlic.
- Top and tail the onion and cut it into strips around 2-3mm (⅛") thick.
- Deseed and cut the peppers into 1cm (just under ½") wide strips.
- Place the chicken in a large bag and add the garlic, chilli pepper, browning, paprika, brown sugar, allspice, salt and pepper, then massage to coat the chicken really well.
- Open the bag and toss in the thyme, bay leaf, spring onions, sliced onion and sliced peppers then close the bag and give it all a shake. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is better.
- When the chicken has finished in the marinade, tip it out into a large bowl and remove the chicken wiping off any garlic and chilli to prevent it from burning.
- Heat a 30cm or 12" frying pan over a high heat, when it is hot add the cooking oil, then sear the chicken on all sides and remove and set aside.
- Reduce the heat under the pan to a medium-high heat, add the rest of the contents from the bag you marinated the chicken in and fry for 7-10 minutes stirring regularly.
- Pour in the chicken stock, add the HP sauce and give everything a stir.
- Add the chicken to the pan coating it in the sauce, then reduce the heat to low, add a lid and cook for 20 minutes, then remove the lid and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes to reduce and thicken the sauce.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 609Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 23gCholesterol: 259mgSodium: 2521mgCarbohydrates: 26gFiber: 4gSugar: 12gProtein: 54g
Calorific details are provided by a third-party application and are to be used as indicative figures only.