Brown Stew Chicken also called Chicken fricassee, is a traditional Jamaican dish that can be found at almost every Jamaican restaurant on the island and abroad. To make authentic Jamaican- style brown stew chicken, preseasoned chicken is fried until brown and then cooked down with fresh herbs and veggies to make a thick rich gravy. Brown stew chicken is a Jamaican Sunday dinner staple that is most often served with rice & peas and a vegetable.
There is a quicker easier version of this classic Jamaican dish that omits frying the chicken but that version lacks the rich authentic flavor that the original dish delivers. Either way you make it you can’t go wrong. The brown stew chicken recipe below details both ways of preparing brown stew chicken.
To cut your cooking time in half mix 1 teaspoon of browning into the chicken when seasoning and add another teaspoon to the sauce once the chicken begins to cook. If you cannot find browning where you live, or you just don’t want to buy a whole bottle; brown a couple teaspoons of granulated sugar in 1 tablespoon of hot oil until it is almost black. Add the chicken to the pot once the sugar is dark and begins to smoke. The darkness of the sugar will determine the darkness of the finished meat.
Brown Stew Chicken Recipe (Jamaican- style Chicken Fricassee)
- 3 lb. Chicken
- ¼ C. vinegar
- 4 cloves garlic (chopped)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp allspice powder or 1 TB whole berries (crushed)
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 lg onion (chopped)
- 1 carrot (sliced)
- 2 sprigs thyme
- Oil for frying use only 1 TB oil if using the Quick & Easy method below
- 1 tsp. sugar Omit sugar if preparing the traditional way
- 1 C. water
- ½ C. tomato ketchup
- Wash chicken thoroughly with vinegar and cold water. Drain water. In a large glass or plastic bowl mix chicken with all ingredients except sugar, oil, water and ketchup. Cover chicken and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 2 to 24 hours.
THE TRADITIONAL WAY
Heat oil in a pan for 2 to 3 minutes, over med- high heat. *a cast iron or similar pot is ideal for this task* When oil is hot, reduce heat to medium. Using a fork, scrape chunks of onion, carrots and other seasonings from the chicken. Slowly add each piece of chicken to the hot oil. Reserve seasonings. Fry chicken until browned on all sides. As chicken browns remove each piece from the oil and place in bowl with seasonings. When chicken is all fried, add all ingredients including ketchup to a clean pot (you can also drain the oil from the frying pan and use the same pan to finish cooking) cover pot and simmer over med- low heat for 5-7 minutes. Remove cover and stir well. Return cover to pot and let chicken cook for 25 minutes until gravy thickens. If sauce dries out before time elapses if you like lots of gravy add ½ cup more water to pot
THE QUICK EASY WAY
Heat oil in a deep pan over medium heat for 3 minutes When oil is hot. Sprinkle sugar into the oil and let sugar brown. When the sugar browns and begins to bubble, stir in the chicken. Continue stirring until chicken begins to brown. Cover pot tightly and reduce heat to med-low. Let chicken simmer for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, Remove lid stir in ketchup and water. Cover pot and let chicken simmer for an additional 30 minutes.