Caribbean Food
Comments 10

The Classics: Brown Stew Chicken


I grew up watching my Mum do all the cooking in our home. But when I was old enough to appreciate that my Mum had a job which sometimes involved working nights, I had to learn to appreciate my Daddy’s cooking. I say learn to appreciate, because there was only one dish my Daddy knew to do: brown stew chicken.

I recall with almost near grief watching my mum hitch up her blue and white nurses uniform over her knee and perch herself gracefully on her brown and orange bike to ride through the quiet streets of Crawley, taking all the tasty food ideas with her to the nursing home where she worked. About 15 minutes into her journey I’m sure the smell of something burning must have reached her nose as far as she was from home. My Dad loved brown stew chicken and he made sure the chicken was just that – brown and indistinguishable from the molasses like gravy it sat in. It’s not that I disliked the bitter sweet taste, it was more that I was bored of it. Every. Other. Sunday.

But now come to think of it, I really didn’t appreciate what I had: a dad who didn’t cut corners and buy us a cheap takeaway to give himself an easy night in front the TV. Instead he chose to make to give his children something from his own hand and heart. We had no choice but to eat it, but it’s now with good memories that I have adapted this dish, minus the bitterness to make it one of my favourite classic recipes.


Brown Stew Chicken



For the marinade: 

Juice of 2 limes

3 tbsp garlic and ginger paste

1 tbsp salt


For the stew:

1/2 half scotch bonnet –  half finely chopped,

4 pieces of skinless chicken on the bone (thigh used in this recipe)

1 scotch bonnet – whole

4-5 sprigs fresh thyme

1/2 chicken stock jelly

2 halves of green and yellow pepper

2-cloves garlic – crushed

1/2 white onion finely sliced

salt and black pepper to taste

2 tbsp oil (frying)

2 tbsp white sugar

2 fresh bay leave

1 – 2 cups water



1. clean the chicken with the lime and salt, rinsing well with water.

2. In a freezer bag place put the garlic and ginger paste, scotch bonnet pepper, salt and juice of half a lime. Add the chicken to the bag smothering the chicken in the marinade before transferring to the fridge over night or at least 4-6 hours.

3. When ready to cook, take a little oil in a deep pot and fry the onion, sweet pepper and thyme. When the vegetables have softened, remove from the pot, placing it in separate bowl.

4. Then add the rest of the oil to the pot with the sugar. Allow the sugar to caramelise to a deep brown colour. Remove from the heat and place the chicken one by one into the caramel (try to remove any excess seasoning off the chicken before doing so to minimise burning but keep the seasoning to add later).

5. When you have added all the chicken, cover the pot with a lid and gently shake the pot in a circular motion to help submerge the chicken in the caramel. Then returning the pot to the fire under a medium/low heat open the pot and with a spoon try and coat the chicken with the caramel.

6. then add the onions and peppers with the scotch bonnet, thyme, bay leaf and seasoning from the chicken. Stir it gently then cover the chicken with the lid again for about 5 minutes. You want to give the chicken some time to cook and soak up the colour and seasoning from the caramel.

7. Check the chicken after about 5 minutes and turn over the pieces before adding the chicken stock jelly. Then add 1 cup of water to the stew. You can add 1/2 cup more if necessary. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes more under a medium/ low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

8. Serve with rice and peas or plain white rice.




  1. dlaiaa says

    Seriously delicious looking food! Wish you could recommend an excellent caterer for my charity event in Trinidad! Your pictures is like food porn makes mouths water! Made some of your dishes and it was totally delish my spouse who is a picky male meat and potatoes loved the dishes! Keep em coming! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Dlailaa! I have some friends in Trini who might be able to recommend caterers for you. I’ll send you details if you e-mail your contact details. Unless your event is in April next year which is when I hope to be in Trini myself!

    I’m so happy to hear you’ve been trying and enjoying the recipes! The feedback keeps me going!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. dlaiaa says

    How lovely, my name is Ingrid and I am happy to hear that you plan to be in Trinidad next year. Not sure but I am trying to put together a Golf Fund Raiser. If all goes well I will alert you. Will love to hear from your friends who are caterers. This year’s Fund Raiser will be hosted on the Harbour Master Cruise Boat in POS. We are hosting our inaugural Breakfast Cruise. Since it is a fund raiser for a child needing a “Bone Marrow Transplant” we hope to maximize with ticket sale and low overhead. I was thinking of foods to feed a crowd that Trini’s eat for breakfast after partying:
    Fish Broth-Corn Soup-Doubles-Fried Bake and Cod Fish or fried shark with condiments as they do on Maracas Beach.. My email is
    Local number to call will be Heather our president at 868-473-6346. Our event is scheduled for Friday-October 17th at midnight to 5 am. Breakfast is served with the cruise returns at 3 am to 5 am with juices, coffee and tea. Wish you were there to attend could have also have you participate as a guest judge for our (Wett t-shirt competition) 🙂 Thanks Ranetta its great to make a new friend. Are you on Face Book?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Wow Ingrid! That sounds amazing! I really wish I could make it (to be on the judging panel…would be such an honour I would take very seriously :-)) I have copied and pasted your message to send to my friends so they can contact you or Heather. I will e-mail later today.

      All the best – I hope we can meet up in person when I reach your shores!

      All the best


      Liked by 1 person

      • dlaiaa says

        How sweet I already like you and your FOOD! 🙂 Can’t wait to meet you. I am in Atlanta, GA, if ever you’re in my neck of the woods. LJB Int’l Foundation is my foundation to help children in Trinidad and Tobago, next the entire Caribbean Diaspora! Thanks for being so sweet and kind! Have a blessed day~


      • I was in Atlanta last year for 3 months! We should have crossed paths! What an amazing foundation, very inspiring…all the best! 🙂


  4. This reminds me of my childhood.. But Jamaicans make the food even browner with dark soy sauce or oyster sauce! We tend to overbrown the meat.. But not to make it bitter though.. Looks like he over browned it! Lool!


  5. Hi
    Hope you are well. I’ve just finished eating this and it was really nice. The only thing, unlike your photo, mine came out a dark browny colour and the texture or consistency is thin. I want to cook it again tomorrow. How do I make sure I get it to look you have done, in the photo. Thanks.
    Have a good night.


    • Hi! Yes brown stew chicken is usually dark brown in colour, so you’re on the right track. If you want to have more control over the colour, then remove the pot from the fire at the point when it’s just about to turn brown, then add your remaining ingredients and return it to a low heat. In relation to the consistency, add a some cornstarch liquid to the stew (1/2 tsp cornstarch dissolved in a little water). Hope that helps!


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