This Deeply flavorful, rich, and downright addictive Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken starts with chicken that has been intensely marinated in a variety of aromatic spices and then braised down in the best savory liquids, resulting in the most comforting Caribbean-style stew you can imagine!!
I’d like to have it been said that my personal diet does not strictly consist of all things sugar, thank you very much. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t shy away from a slice of leftover pie for breakfast but I’m also a sucker for all things savory.
Some of the best recipes I adore originate from the Caribbean: the spice blends jampack all of the food with layers of flavor. Having spent time in a ton of places in the Caribbean, including Jamaica (I’ve visited Ocho Rios!), I was able to taste firsthand the incredible food they have to offer. Jamaican residents have come from around the globe, bringing with them the cooking techniques, flavors, spices, and recipes of their homelands and blending them with the bountiful harvest of this tropical island. The result is some of the most flavorful cuisine in the Caribbean.
This Brown Stew Chicken recipe isn’t just a dish, it’s a cultural experience. Each spoonful transports you to the sun-soaked shores of Jamaica, where food is made with warmth, soul, and a little bit of island magic.
What Is Brown Stew Chicken?
Brown Stew Chicken is a classic Jamaican stew made with chicken, vegetables and a heavy amount of aromatic spices. The end result is tender chicken, flavorful and rich brown stew gravy, and a wonderfully scented kitchen.
One of my dear friends and brothers, Lazarus Lynch, released an amazing cookbook called “Son of a Southern Chef”. We met a few years ago while filming Unique Sweets on Cooking Channel, and he has been my lil bro ever since. He is such a special and unique soul that always makes me happy whenever I spend time with him. He can also cook his booty off!
In the book he utilizes his childhood experiences to recreate recipes that are not only delicious but also take us for a trip down to the Caribbean and back. Today, I’m gonna walk you through his recipe for Brown Stew Chicken that doubles as one of my favorite comfort foods.
The Heart & Soul Of Brown Stew Chicken
Cuisine Inspiration: Jamaican/Caribbean
Primary Cooking Method: Stewing
Dietary Info: High Protein, Gluten-Free (ensure soy sauce used is gluten-free if necessary)
Key Flavor: Savory with a balance of sweet, spicy, and umami undertones
Skill Level: Intermediate
- Deeply Flavorful: Marinating the chicken ensures deep penetration of flavors, making every bite richly satisfying – just as any authentic Caribbean-inspired dish should be!
Hearty and Wholesome: Packed with protein and infused with a medley of spices and veggies, this stew is not just tasty but also a well-rounded meal.
Perfect for Any Weather: Comforting in the cold, yet light enough for warmer months, brown stew chicken is a year-round favorite. That’s true versatility, y’all!
Meal Prep Friendly: This dish tastes even better the next day, making it perfect for leftovers or meal prepping for the week ahead.
Family Recipe: Rooted in tradition, this recipe isn’t just about food, but also about bringing family together and creating memories over shared meals. I’m sure your loved ones are gonna love it.
Ingredients To Make Brown Stew Chicken
- Yellow Onion: Adds a sweet, aromatic base flavor to the dish.
- Scallions: Provide a mild, slightly peppery taste and a pop of color.
- Garlic Cloves: Garlic makes everything better! It infuses the chicken with a rich, pungent flavor.
- Dark Brown Sugar: Adds sweetness to balance the savory and spicy elements.
- Browning Sauce: Gives the stew its signature rich color and depth of flavor. I always use browning sauce from the brand “Grace”.
- Spices and Seasonings: A blend of dark brown sugar, browning sauce, fresh thyme, sweet paprika, ground ginger, chili powder, kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, ground allspice, and dried bay leaves, each contributing to the rich, complex flavor profile of the stew.
- Boneless, Skinless Chicken Pieces: The main protein! It absorbs the marinade well and becomes really tender when cooked.
- Canola or Vegetable Oil: Used for browning the chicken, providing a neutral flavor.
- Low Sodium Chicken Stock: Forms the base of the stew, adding richness without too much salt.
- Carrots: Add sweetness and a bit of texture.
- Ripe Tomato: Contributes acidity and freshness to the stew.
- Ketchup: Adds sweetness and a tangy tomato flavor. Plus, it thickens the stew. I know some don’t like ketchup, but in this recipe is vital!
How To Make Brown Stew Chicken
We’re about to whip up some Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken that’ll knock your socks off! I’ve laid out all the nitty-gritty details in the recipe card below, complete with cooking times and little tips to make sure your stew is as good as a sunny day in Ocho Rios.
Step 1: Marinating The Chicken
- Combine onions, scallions, garlic, brown sugar, browning sauce, thyme, paprika, ginger, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper in a gallon-size plastic storage bag.
- Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the chicken, tossing well to evenly coat.
- Seal the bag and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and lay them on the baking sheet. Pat off excess marinade with paper towels. Set aside for a few minutes. Reserve marinade.
Step 2: Frying The Chicken And Cooking The Stew
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot. Working in batches if needed, add the chicken to the hot oil.
- Fry the chicken, turning it occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides.
- Stir in the stock, reserved marinade, carrots, tomatoes, ketchup, allspice and bay leaves once all chicken pieces are golden brown.
- Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has reduced by half.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste, remove bay leaves, and garnish with chopped scallions.
Tips For Making The Best Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Marinate Well: Allow the chicken to marinate for at least 2 hours, or ideally overnight, for maximum flavor. You might want to have this stew ready as soon as possible, but trust me, patience pays off!
- Brown the Chicken: Don’t skip the browning! Properly browning the chicken pieces before stewing adds depth to the dish’s flavor.
- Use Fresh Herbs: Fresh thyme and other herbs bring a more vibrant taste than dried ones. They bring a bright, aromatic quality that dried herbs just can’t match.
- Simmer Slowly: A rolling boil can result in tough chicken and a broken sauce, so let the stew simmer gently. It’ll tenderize the chicken and meld the flavors beautifully.
Popular Substitutions & Additions
- Browning Sauce: If you cannot find Grace above and you must have a substitute, use the brand Kitchen Bouquet. However, do not confuse browning sauce with Worcestershire sauce. That is not an acceptable sub for this recipe.
- Add more heat: Adjust the chili powder to your liking. For more heat, try adding a pinch of cayenne pepper, finely chopped scotch bonnet peppers, or a small amount of jerk seasoning to your spice mixture.
- Tomato Flavor: Tomato paste can be added with ripe tomatoes for a more concentrated tomato flavor.
- Bell Peppers: Include bell peppers for additional color and sweetness.
What To Serve With Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
- Add a little sweet contrast to your meal with some golden, caramelized fried plantains. Their natural sweetness and crispy edges are a great counterpoint to the savory, spicy stew.
- Red beans and rice is a classic pairing that’s as hearty as it is tasty, soaking up all that rich, savory stew. Then there’s Jamaican rice and peas, a must-try for its creamy texture and coconut-infused flavor.
- For dessert, let’s keep the Caribbean vibes going with a pineapple rum cake. This sweet, moist cake with a hint of rum is the perfect way to round off your meal.
- Y’all, don’t forget some warm, sweet cornbread on the side. Cornbread and stew go together like peas and carrots, and for good reason – it soaks up all the flavors!
How To Store & Reheat Brown Stew Chicken
After cooking, allow the chicken to cool to room temperature. Transfer the stew into an airtight container. This helps to maintain its moisture and flavor, and also prevents it from absorbing odors from other foods in the fridge.
They best way to enjoy reheated leftovers is to warm them on the stovetop. Heat over medium until warmed through. if the stew seems too thick, add a little water or broth to thin it out slightly.
How Long Will Brown Stew Chicken Last In The Fridge?
You can safely store your leftover stewed chicken within 3-4 days.
Can I Freeze Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
Yes! Brown stew chicken freezes well. Once cooled, store in a freezer safe airtight container. It can be frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight before reheating.
Frequently Asked Questions
It is possible to make this recipe without chicken. While this recipe hasn’t been tested using other meat substitutes you could use portobello mushrooms, green jackfruit, potatoes, or firm tofu.
Yes! The brand suggested for this recipe is the Grace brand which is labeled as “Browning”, but if you want to make your own, all you need is cane sugar and a pinch of salt. Start by gently melting the sugar in a skillet until it gets a deep, rich brown color, then add a dash of salt to balance the sweetness, and that’s pretty much it. Homemade browning sauce in a jiffy!
Definitely. Bone-in chicken pieces can actually add more flavor to the stew. Just remember, they might take a bit longer to cook, so adjust your simmering time accordingly.
With this Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken recipe, you’re not just cooking; you’re taking a trip to the Caribbean from the comfort of your own home! Every bite is a burst of meaty, spicy, and sweet flavors, bringing the warmth and soul of the islands right to your plate. So, go ahead and make a big batch – it’s just as good the next day, if not better.
Favorite Jamaican-Inspired Recipes
- The BEST Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe!
- Jamaican Jerk Seasoning Recipe
- Jamaican Rice And Peas Recipe
- Jamaican Beef Patties
- Jamaican Oxtail Recipe
- Saltfish and Ackee
- Saltfish Fritters
- Curry Goat
*Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating and leave comments below!* Post a photo of how your version of the recipe came out on Instagram (using #grandbabycakes)!!
Brown Stew Chicken
- 1 cup diced yellow onion
- 1 bunch of scallions chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- 2 tsp packed dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp browning sauce
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme chopped
- 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp chili powder
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 8 boneless, skinless chicken pieces
- 3 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
- 4 cups low sodium chicken stock
- 2 carrots sliced
- 1/2 cup ripe tomato chopped
- 1/2 cup ketchup
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
- 3 dried bay leaves
- Rice and Peas recipe found here
- In a gallon-size plastic storage bag, combine onions, scallions, garlic, brown sugar, browning sauce, thyme, paprika, ginger, chili powder, 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Add the chicken and massage the marinade into the chicken, tossing well to evenly coat. Seal the bag and refrigerate for 2 hrs or overnight.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and lay them on the baking sheet. Pat off excess marinade with paper towels. Set aside for about 10 minutes. Reserve marinade.
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat until hot, about 5 minutes. Working in batches if needed, add the chicken to the hot oil and fry, turning it occasionally, until deep golden brown on all sides, about 10 minutes total.
- Once all chicken pieces are golden brown, stir in the stock, reserved marinade, carrots, tomatoes, ketchup, allspice and bay leaves.
- Cover the pot and bring the mixture to a boil, about 10 minutes. Remove the lid and reduce the heat to low. Once heat is lowered, cover again and cook until the chicken is very tender and the sauce has reduced by half, about 45-50 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove bay leaves.
- Serve the chicken with rice and peas recipe which you can find HERE