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"Heads High" Authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken {Recipe}

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Authentic Jamaican brown stew chicken that is deeply flavored, intensely aromatic and straight classic Caribbean island vibes.

Brown stew chicken is another Jamaican classic like jerk chicken and curry chicken. You might say, it's just chicken stew, but you know Jamaican food hit different. Those spices and that brown sauce takes this way beyond your typical stewed chicken.

Chicken is browned and then braised slowly for tender, delicious chicken pieces perfect for Sunday family dinner or make-ahead weeknight dish.

brown stew chicken in pot

What Is Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Jamaican brown stew chicken is a delicious and hearty dish that is perfect for a winter meal. The chicken is simmered in a flavorful brown gravy, and the dish is often served with rice and beans.

The key to making this dish truly authentically Jamaican is to use a browning sauce, which gives the gravy its characteristic dark color. While this dish may take some time to prepare, it is well worth the effort, and your family and friends will be sure to enjoy it.

Beats and Eats (music pairing for Brown Stew Chicken)

This brown stew chicken recipe is almost celebratory so you need to pair it with an up-tempo reggae classic like Mr. Vegas' "Heads High."

INGREDIENTS FOR JAMAICAN BROWN STEW CHICKEN

For the chicken

  • Chicken Pieces
  • Browning Sauce
  • Kosher Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Ground Sage
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder

For the marinade

  • All Spice Berries
  • Red Onion
  • Bell pepper
  • Garlic Cloves
  • Fresh Ginger
  • Scotch Bonnet Pepper or Habanero Pepper
  • Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • Green onions

For the gravy

  • Butter
  • Ketchup
  • Chicken Stock
  • Hot Sauce

HOW TO MAKE AUTHENTIC BROWN STEW CHICKEN

The deep intense flavor and the list of ingredients would suggest this is a complicated dish. The reality is altogether different as this chicken dish couldn’t be more simple to make. The key is patience.

Place the chicken in a large mixing bowl. Season it well with the variety of aromatic spices, browning sauce, and marinade ingredients. Marinate the chicken overnight.

seasoned chicken on white plate
chicken marinating under peppers and onions

Add the chicken to the hot oil and brown. Remove the chicken, set it aside, and then saute the vegetables.

chicken browning in pan
chicken in pan with peppers

Make the gravy by adding the chicken broth, ketchup, butter, and hot sauce. Mix well being sure to deglaze the bottom of the pot by using a wooden spoon to scrape up all the left behind browned bits.

sauce in pot with peppers

Add the browned chicken pieces back and let it stew slowly covered.

brown stew chicken in pot

BROWN STEW CHICKEN COOKING CONSIDERATIONS AND TIPS

If you don’t have browning sauce you can make your own homemade browning sauce by burning sugar in the skillet. To do this you cook brown sugar in a skillet until it melts to almost like a syrup consistency. Add boiling water (slowly) after it’s melted and constantly stir to a thinner sauce consistency.

I prefer dark meat chicken like chicken legs and/or thighs for brown stew chicken. Dark meat results in more tender chicken, as it's really easy to overcook breasts.

Cut the chicken into small pieces. This makes for a faster cook and makes it easier to brown all parts of the chicken.

Rich brown stew gravy is the key to making a banging Jamaican brown stew chicken recipe.

Habanero can be substituted for scotch bonnet. You can dice the chili and add to the marinade. Alternatively you can cut slits into the sides of a whole chili and place in the skillet during cooking. It's a pretty hot pepper so I prefer the latter approach of adding the whole pepper to the pan. It adds much flavor without adding overpowering heat.

Wash the chicken in something acidic like lime juice or cider vinegar.

For a quicker easy weeknight version try this instant pot brown stew chicken recipe.

Serve the finished chicken with side dish Jamaican recipes like coconut rice, Jamaican rice and peas, or Jamaican cabbage.

Jamaican Stewed Chicken Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: What kind of chicken should I use for this recipe?

A: You can use any type of chicken for this recipe, but we recommend using bone-in dark meat (legs or thighs).

Q: Can I make this recipe in the slow cooker?

A: Yes, you can make this recipe in the slow cooker. Simply add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 3-4 hours. However, as a first step you'll want brown the chicken in a skillet first.

Q: What can I serve with this recipe?

A: This recipe goes well with rice, quinoa, or fonio. For a complete meal, you can also add a side of steamed vegetables or Jamaican cabbage.

MORE CHICKEN-BASED RECIPES

make this recipe

This Jamaican brown stew chicken recipe is definitely worth trying. The unique flavors will transport you to the Caribbean and make your taste buds happy. We highly recommend giving this dish a try, especially if you’re looking for something new and exciting to add to your dinner rotation.

If you make this recipe for Jamaican brown stew chicken or any other from the site, please come back and leave me a comment below with your feedback. Definitely take a photo of the dish and be sure to tag #foodfidelity so that I can see them.

You can also keep up with my food exploits as well as original recipes! You can find me on InstagramFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest. If you like any of the music you find on the site, visit me at Spotify to find curated monthly playlists.

brown stew chicken in pot

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Authentic Jamaican brown stew chicken that is deeply flavored, intensely aromatic and straight classic island vibes.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Caribbean, Jamaican
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 638kcal
Author: Marwin Brown

Ingredients

For the chicken

  • 2 lbs Chicken Pieces 3 thighs and 3 drumsticks, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1 whole lime juiced
  • 1 teaspoon Browning Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 2 teaspoon Paprika
  • ½ teaspoon Ground Sage
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Onion Powder

For the marinade

  • 5 whole All Spice Berries
  • 1 medium Red Onion sliced thinly
  • 1 Bell pepper sliced thinly
  • 6 cloves Garlic grated
  • 1 inch Fresh Ginger grated
  • 1 whole Scotch Bonnet Pepper
  • 3 sprigs Thyme
  • ½ cup Green onions diced white and green parts

For the gravy

  • 1 stick Butter
  • ½ cup Ketchup
  • 1 cup Chicken Stock
  • 1 tablespoon Hot Sauce

Instructions

Season the Chicken

  • Wash the chicken thoroughly with water and lime juice.
  • Mix the spices together in a small bowl. Season the chicken pieces generously.
  • Place the chicken in a large bowl. Add browning sauce and mix in well.

Marinate the Chicken

  • Grate the garlic and ginger directly onto the chicken. Add the sliced vegetables, thyme sprigs, and all spice berries. Mix well with your hands. Place the chicken plus marinade in a large ziplock bag then let the chicken marinate overnight.

Brown the Chicken

  • Separate the chicken from the vegetables, removing as many garlic and ginger pieces as possible.
  • Heat large skillet over medium heat. Add oil and brown the chicken on top and bottom about 3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  • Add the the marinade mix plus the scotch bonnet chili to the skillet and saute 2-3 minutes. Add a pinch or two of the spice seasoning mix.
  • Add the stock and deglaze the pan scraping up all the crispy stuff on the bottom of the pan. Add the butter, ketchup, and hot sauce then mix well.
  • Add the chicken pieces back to the pan. Cover and simmer 30-45 minutes.
  • add Cup of stock, butter,½ cup ketchup, 1 whole habanero, tablespoon hot sauce.
  • Remove the chicken, increase the heat, and reduce the sauce. Serve the chicken over rice topped with the sauce.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

If you don’t have browning sauce you can make your own by burning sugar in the skillet. To do this you cook brown sugar in a skillet until it melts to almost like a syrup consistency. Add boiling water (slowly) after it’s melted and constantly stir to a thinner sauce consistency.
Cut the pieces into smaller pieces. This makes for a faster cook and makes it easier to brown all parts of the chicken.
Habanero can be substituted for scotch bonnet. You can dice the chili and add to the marinade. Alternatively you can cut slits into the sides of a whole chili and place in the skillet during cooking.
Wash the chicken in something acidic like lime juice or cider vinegar.
For a quicker easy weeknight version try this instant pot brown stew chicken recipe.

Nutrition

Calories: 638kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 47g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 178mg | Sodium: 1345mg | Potassium: 653mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2734IU | Vitamin C: 52mg | Calcium: 66mg | Iron: 3mg
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Recipe Rating




Kari Heron | Chef and Steward

Sunday 29th of August 2021

Did this bredren just say “Heads High?” Now you have the Jamaican in me chiming in”Kill dem wid di NOOOO…!” Wicked my Yute! Pull uuuuuuuup wid dis Brown stew!

Marwin Brown

Monday 30th of August 2021

I love it!Hope you're well Chef

Jo

Sunday 27th of December 2020

Oh my god, that stew looks scrumptious! The richness of the stew is mindblowing.

Adriana

Sunday 27th of December 2020

I am always looking for flavorful chicken dishes. This is definitely one that I need to try once the holidays are over.

Adriana

Sunday 27th of December 2020

I am always looking for flavorful chicken dishes. This is definitely one that I need to try once teh holidays are over.

Jacqueline Debono

Sunday 27th of December 2020

I don't think I've ever tried Jamaican food but this chicken stew looks so good. I love spicy dishes and imagine this has quite a kick!