My Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken recipe will give you a delicious, hearty dish that's comforting and packed with flavors. This is the perfect dish to make at home any night you're craving something heartwarming and family-friendly. The flavors are authentic and this recipe is super easy to follow.
Brown stew chicken is a delicious and hearty dish that originates from the Caribbean. Its name comes from the rich, brown color that is achieved through a process of browning the chicken and then slow-cooking it in a delightful stew of spices, vegetables, and chicken bouillon.
This dish is not only appetizing but also holds a distinctive place in Caribbean cuisine thanks to its robust flavors and comforting warmth. Each spoonful delivers a burst of spicy, savory, and slightly tangy flavors that will have you reaching for seconds.
I have made many stews and dishes with gravy that you'll love to try. If you want Southern food then I made a popular dish called Smothered Chicken; another amazing recipe is my Chicken with Mushroom Gravy. But to top it all, go for Steak Bites with Gravy.
❤️ WHY YOU’LL LOVE THIS RECIPE
Simple and easy: This brown stew chicken recipe is quite simple to prepare. With common ingredients and straightforward instructions, even a beginner can prepare this recipe with ease.
Delicious: This stew is a perfect blend of hearty and savory flavors. The combination of spices in the marinade, the freshness of the vegetables, and the richness of the chicken creates a mouth-watering dish that’s hard to resist.
Family favorite: This brown stew chicken is a surefire hit at any gathering. Its comforting, home-cooked appeal makes it a popular choice for family dinners or potluck parties.
Versatile: The recipe is highly adaptable and can be modified as per your taste preferences. You can adjust the heat by adding more or less chili, and you can experiment with other spices or herbs to make it your own.
More details about the ingredients and measurements are in the recipe card below!
Chicken drumsticks with skin: The drumsticks will be the star of the dish, becoming tender and flavorful after marinating and stewing. Although I've used chicken legs for this recipe, you can use any cut you prefer.
Spices: We'll use simple spices for the marinade, such as onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, and paprika.
Chicken bouillon: This will intensify the chicken flavor in the stew, making it more savory and delicious.
Butter: It will add a creamy richness to the stew, balancing out the spicy and savory flavors.
In a large bowl, combine your chicken pieces with the marinade ingredients. Rub all the ingredients together, and make sure that the chicken is thoroughly coated in the marinade.
Afterward, cover the bowl tightly and place it in the refrigerator. Allow the chicken to marinate for a minimum of four hours. However, for the best flavor infusion, it is ideal to leave it to marinate overnight.
Following the marination process, remove the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes. This step is crucial as it helps make sure that the chicken cooks evenly when it hits the hot pan.
Next, heat some oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces. Fry them until they turn a beautiful golden brown on all sides. Remove and keep aside. The goal is not to cook the chicken but to get the brown color.
In the same pan with the remaining oil, add the onions. Fry them until they become translucent, which is a sign that they are cooked and have released their sweet flavor. After that, add the tomatoes and garlic. Continue cooking until the oil separates from the tomato and onion mixture.
Return the chicken to the pan. Add the green peppers, green chili, and the chicken bouillon. Stir the mixture for about two minutes and ensure the chicken is well coated with the spices.
Next, add enough boiling water to the pan to cover the chicken pieces. Let the chicken stew simmer until the water reduces to about a cup or a cup and a half. This step is where the magic happens as the flavors meld together and the stew thickens.
Once the stew has thickened and the chicken is fully cooked, add a dollop of butter and stir for one minute. This final step adds a rich, creamy finish to your brown stew chicken.
👩🏽🍳 PRO TIPS
Browning the Chicken: The key to a good Jamaican brown stew chicken lies in browning the seasoned chicken. This not only enhances the flavor but also gives the stew a beautiful brown color. Make sure to brown the chicken on all sides evenly.
Adding the Chicken Bouillon: The chicken bouillon cube is an essential ingredient in this recipe. It provides a rich chicken flavor to the stew. Add it along with the green chili and let it dissolve before adding water.
Simmering the Stew: The stew needs to simmer until the water reduces to almost a cup or a cup and a half. This will make the stew thicker and guarantee that the chicken is well-cooked. Patience is key here; don’t rush this step.
Finishing with Butter: Adding butter towards the end of cooking gives the stew a rich, velvety texture. Stir in the butter and let it melt into the stew for one minute. This final touch takes your brown stew chicken to the next level.
Make it spicier: For those who appreciate a bit of heat, try adding a teaspoon of cayenne pepper to the chicken marinade. This will infuse the stew with a subtle spiciness that elevates the overall flavor.
Add more veggies: If you want to incorporate more vegetables into your meal, add some diced carrots and peas into the stew. They add a pop of color.
Herb-infused: Enhance the depth of flavor by adding a bouquet of garni (thyme, parsley, and bay leaf tied together) to the stew. This adds an aromatic herbal note to the stew, complimenting the savory taste of the chicken.
🍽️ HOW TO SERVE
Pair with Bread: This Jamaican brown stew chicken can be served with your choice of bread. The hearty, savory flavors of the stew beautifully soak into the bread, creating a delicious and satisfying bite every time.
Serve with White Rice: A classic and straightforward serving suggestion is to pair the stew with a bowl of white rice. The mild taste of the rice compliments the rich flavors of the stew perfectly, and it does a great job of soaking up the delicious sauce.
African black-eyed peas with rice: Consider serving your stew alongside traditional African black-eyed peas. It pairs wonderfully with the brown stew chicken.
💬 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Yes, you can use boneless chicken. However, using chicken with the bone in can add more flavor to the stew. Make sure that you adjust the cooking time properly as boneless chicken might cook faster.
While marinating the chicken overnight is recommended to allow the flavors to mix better and to tenderize the chicken, if you’re short on time, a minimum of 2 hours of marination would still work.
Yes, the green chili is optional and can be skipped if you prefer a less spicy stew.
The stew should be reduced to almost a cup or a cup and a half. It should look thicker when the chicken is fully cooked.
To store your leftover brown stew chicken in the fridge, allow the stew to cool before transferring it into an airtight container. The stew can be safely stored in the fridge for up to 4 days.
When reheating, it is best to do so slowly over medium heat on the stove, stirring occasionally to avoid burning.
To freeze your stew, portion it into freezer-safe containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Make sure to leave some space at the top, as the stew will expand when frozen. Your brown stew chicken can be safely frozen for up to 3 months.
The best method is to let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Once fully thawed, you can reheat it on the stove over medium heat until it is hot and bubbly. However, keep in mind that the texture of the chicken might change slightly after freezing and thawing.
📣 MORE STEW YOU'LL LIKE
⭐PLEASE RATE AND REVIEW
If you have tried this recipe and liked it, please give it a 5-star rating and leave a comment below with your experience!
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken Recipe
- 3 chicken drumsticks with skin on
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar or regular white
- ½ teaspoon thyme
FOR THE STEW
- 3 tablespoon oil
- 1 green chili cut in half
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 medium tomato chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ diced green bell pepper
- 1 cube chicken bouillon
- 2 tablespoon butter
- Enough boiling water to cover the chicken
- In a bowl, add the chicken and the marinade ingredients. Mix well, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, it is best to marinate it overnight.
- Bring out the chicken and let it come to room temp, for around 30 minutes.
- In a pan, add the oil and fry the chicken until brown on all sides. Remove the chicken and keep it aside. The chicken will not be cooked this step is just to brown the chicken.
- In the same pan and using the remaining oil, add the onion and fry until translucent. Add the tomato and garlic, and cook until the oil separates from the tomato and onion mixture.
- Add the chicken, green chili, green pepper, and chicken bouillon, and stir for two minutes. Add the boiling water, enough to cover the chicken.
- Let it cook until the water reduces to almost a cup or a cup and a half. When the stew looks thicker and the chicken is cooked, add the butter and stir for one minute.
- Serve the stew hot on rice or with bread.
- If the chicken is thick, poke it with a knife in several places; this will help the marinade to penetrate the chicken.
- I have omitted the bonnet pepper, Pimento berries, and browning since they're not always available in most kitchens. Still, I have tested this recipe to make it taste just like the original recipe.
- Marinating the chicken overnight for 8 to 9 hours makes the chicken more tender and flavorful, but if you don't have that much time, 4 hours are good.
- The browning sauce used in most recipes adds a brown, dark color to the stew and doesn't add much flavor. We achieve the same in this recipe without using it.