Make the best Authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken with real Caribbean and island flavors from fresh herbs, veggies, browning seasoning and a few must-have seasonings. This rich stew is sure to become a family favorite dinner during the week.
When I think of my Jamaican heritage, food is always at the center. From hearty curries to spicy chicken dishes, there's a lot to love about authentic Jamaican food. Growing up, Authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken with white rice was a staple food including brown stew snapper fish, stew peas, oxtails, curry chicken, pigtails, and so many others that I enjoyed on a daily basis and for good reason. Brown Stew Chicken requires a little more than traditional stew recipes, but it's certainly worth it and it's a dish that both kids and adults-alike will love.
My Mother-in-Law actually makes my favorite stew chicken, which she makes a "darker" color by adding more browning sauce, however, I wanted to pay more homage to the traditional way of making Brown stew chicken-----one of my top faves! You'll want to start out by searing your chicken before creating the sauce and later letting everything simmer. And if you don't want to use browning sauce, you can literally "brown" your chicken using 2-3 Tbsps of brown sugar with the oil when searing. Of course, if you're a lover of traditional Jamaican dishes, you have to try this Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken, Jamaican Rum Cream, Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge, and Creamy Jamaican Rasta Pasta.
So I had to make a traditional Jamaican recipe for Brown Stew Chicken. The ingredients in this dish are central to Jamaican cuisine and together make an intensely flavorful stew that will warm you from the inside out and it can easily be served with white rice, rice & peas, "cooked food" like dumplings, yam, and boiled banana, or keep things light with a few slices of hard dough bread.
This dish is sometimes called stew chicken. It's a go-to dinner recipe in Jamaican and the surrounding islands. The name comes from the color of the sauce and the chicken, which gets nice and browned from searing in brown sugar, for a caramelized flavor and look.
Traditional versions are also made with veggies like carrots, garlic, onions, and potatoes----plus herbs + seasonings like thyme, scallion, pimento seeds, etc. In addition, I grew up watching my parents marinate the chicken with all of the seasonings about 1-2 days prior and refrigerating everything so that the flavors could "settle" in the chicken and cooking the sauce with ketchup as opposed to tomato sauce, which I prefer.
In case you were wondering if there was a difference---yes there is! With brown stew chicken, the cooking time takes a bit longer and the process for making it is slightly different (i.e. marinating it preferably overnight, the seasoning required, etc.).
The ingredients for this stew are important for developing the right flavor notes. Here's what you'll need:
Cooking Jamaican brown stew chicken is generally an easy process---in total about 35-40 minutes:
In this recipe, I love using browning sauce to make the sauce darker in color, which is traditionally used in many recipes. In addition, the browning sauce helps to deepen the flavors in this dish.
Jamaican browning sauce combines brown sugar and hot boiling water to form a syrup-like sauce and it's used to enhance the flavors of many dishes like stews, gravy, cakes, etc. In addition, it give a rich color to your dish.
You can serve this stew as-is. I like to add a veggie side and some rice to sop up all of the rich brown stew flavors. It would pair great with white rice, brown rice, traditional rice & peas, yellow rice, roasted veggies, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.
This specific recipe doesn't ask for coconut milk, however, much like my Authentic Jamaican Curry Chicken, you can always use 1 (14oz.) can of full-fat coconut milk as a part of the sauce and reduce the chicken stock to about 1-2 cups. Adding coconut milk definitely creates a creamier sauce, which is a win, win for stew chicken.
OK, so if you find that your brown stew chicken has a more bitter taste, this is more than likely due to using too much browning sauce. No worries---you can fix this! Simply break up the bitter taste with a bit of ketchup, brown sugar, and additional stock. This should help!
Because I love spicy flavors and whenever making anything Jamaican, I'm always inclined to add scotch bonnet peppers-----this specific brown stew chicken is spicy. However, you can feel free to remove the scotch bonnet peppers entirely and create a much milder dish. It's all about preference, not necessity.
If you find that your sauce isn't thick enough, I definitely recommend covering the pot and allowing it to simmer a bit more. Usually, with a slow simmer over time, the sauce will automatically thicken. However, if it's truly not doing that, add 1 tablespoon of flour with 3-4 Tbsps warm water to a small cup or bowl, stir until smooth and "milky" and add to the sauce to help aide it.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. Reheat servings in the microwave or on the stove to serve.
You can also freeze leftover chicken for up to six months. Then defrost in the fridge overnight and reheat to enjoy.
Basically, this sauce has a rich, deep smoky and slightly sweet flavor. It can be added to both savory and sweet dishes, however, I recommend not adding too much because it can taste pretty bitter.
If you tried this Authentic Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken or any other recipe on my website, please please leave a 🌟 star rating and let me know how you go in the 📝 comments below. I love hearing from you.