Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken Recipe – A spicy Jamaican stew that includes tender pieces of browned chicken simmered with veggies in a thick gravy. Enjoy as-is or over rice for a hearty and flavorful meal!
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
We know you love a good low and slow stew recipe to prepare on Saturday and Sunday evenings. Well, get ready to take your relaxing weeknight dinner routine to a whole new level of deliciousness…
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken is a traditional Caribbean dish that features spicy marinated chicken pieces and a thick, zesty gravy. Each serving is incredibly delicious and comforting, with lots of veggies and delightful spices in every bite.
The stew is fantastic in a large bowl by itself as-is, or served over fluffy steamed rice.
What is Browning Seasoning?
If you’re not familiar, Browning Seasoning is an old-timey ingredient used for enhancing the taste and color of many dishes. It adds a salty, savory taste to anything from stews, to gravies, and all sorts of sauces. You can find it in most grocery stores, usually near the bottled sauces and marinades.
This classic Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken recipe includes classic browning seasoning to create a wonderfully deep, earthy flavor throughout the dish. While it can be substituted in a pinch (keep reading for ideas) we highly recommend you try to source true browning seasoning to make the best version, the most authentic Jamaican chicken stew.
Ingredients You Need
A simple but aromatics-filled marinade is what really makes this recipe something extra special. To make the marinated chicken you need:
- Bone-in chicken – thighs or drumsticks, with the skin on
- Chicken bouillon – or chicken base/Chicken Broth
- Scallions – chopped
- Habanero peppers – seeded and minced (or scotch bonnet pepper)
- Garlic Cloves – minced
- Seasonings – fresh thyme leaves, freshly grated ginger, smoked paprika, black pepper
For the Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken base you need:
- Oil – your preferred cooking oil
- Onion – peeled and chopped
- Carrots – peeled and sliced
- Bell pepper – seeded and chopped
- Ketchup – for a great kick of tangy acidity
- Brown sugar – adds a bit of sweetness to balance the spice
- Browning seasoning – to make an authentic Brown Chicken Stew with deep savory flavor (Kitchen Bouquet or Gravy Master)
- Bay leaves – enhances the seasonings with a hint of earthiness
- Water – for a wonderfully saucy stew
How to Make Authentic Brown Stew Chicken
Step #1 – Marinade the Chicken
First, place the chicken pieces in a large zip bag. Add the marinade ingredients and zip the bag closed. Massage the chicken thighs to coat with seasoning on all sides. Then place the chicken in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours, up to overnight.
Step #2 – Brown the Chicken
Prep the remaining ingredients/vegetables as the chicken finishes up the marinating process.
Once the chicken is ready, set a large 7-8 quart dutch oven (or pot) over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the oil to the pot. When the oil is hot, add the chicken pieces, plus as much of the marinade seasoning as possible, into the pot.
Brown the chicken pieces on all sides, rotating the pieces as needed. This process will go much faster if your pot is wider, like a dutch oven.
Step #3 – Make the Brown Stew Chicken Base
Next, remove the browned chicken pieces and place them on a holding plate. To the pot (still on medium heat) add the chopped onion, carrots, and bell peppers. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pot. Then add the ketchup, brown sugar, browning seasoning, bay leaves, and water. Stir well and cover. Simmer the stew for 20 minutes. Give it a stir a couple of times as it cooks to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
Remove the lid, stir again, and simmer for another 10 to thicken the gravy.
Taste the chicken stew, then salt and pepper as needed. Serve warm.
Get the Complete (Printable) Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken Recipe Card Below. Enjoy!
Serve the stew as-is in a bowl, over white rice, or with peas and rice.
Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days. To freeze, transfer to a sealed container and wrap the container in a layer of aluminum foil. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I serve Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken?
Traditionally this stew/soup is enjoyed nestled over a bed of fluffy steamed white rice, Jamaican rice, coconut rice, or with a helping of Peas and Rice. It also pairs great with baked plantains and fresh, johnny cake, or hot cornbread. Or, simply serve in a bowl and enjoy as-is!
What can I use as a substitute for browning sauce seasoning?
If browning seasoning is not available, you can swap it with Maggi seasoning, soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce. These won’t have quite the same taste but will still provide a bit of brown color and lovely umami flavor as this well-loved and popular condiment.
How long will leftovers keep well?
This stew is terrific for enjoying as leftovers! The flavors get even better as everything sits together. Store cooled leftovers in an airtight container for up to 4 days in the fridge. To freeze, transfer to a sealed container and wrap the container in a layer of aluminum foil. Keep in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Can I use chicken breast?
You can use bone-in chicken breasts in this recipe. Although, there is richer flavor in chicken thighs or drumsticks, and dark meat is more traditional in Caribbean households.
Can I substitute powders for the onion and garlic?
Yes, you could use onion powder or garlic powder in this recipe instead of the fresh ingredients. However, fresh is best! If needed, substitute 1 teaspoon garlic powder for the minced garlic, and 5 teaspoons onion powder for a whole onion.
Looking for More Satisfying Stew Recipes?
- Jamaican Yellow Curry Chicken
- Crockpot Brunswick Stew
- Beef and Lentil Stew
- The Best Beef Stew Recipe
- Brazilian Feijoada (Pork and Black Bean Stew)
- Pressure Cooker Corned Beef Cabbage Irish Stew
Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
For the Marinated Chicken –
Marinate the Chicken –
- Place the chicken pieces in a large zip bag. Add the chicken bouillon, scallions, minced habanero, garlic, thyme, ginger, paprika, and black pepper. Zip the bag closed and massage the chicken pieces to coat with seasoning on all sides. Place the chicken in the refrigerator and chill for at least 2 hours. (You can marinate overnight if desired.)
Brown the Chicken –
- Set a large 7-8 quart dutch oven (or pot) over medium heat. Place the oil in the pot. Once hot, add the chicken pieces, and as much of the marinade seasoning as possible, into the pot. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides, rotating the pieces as needed. (This will go faster if you pot is wider like a dutch oven.)
Make the Stew Base –
- Remove the chicken pieces and place on a holding plate. Add the chopped onion, carrots, and bell peppers to the pot. Sauté for 5 minutes to soften.
- Move the chicken pieces back to the pot. Add the ketchup, brown sugar, browning seasoning, bay leaves and water. Stir well. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Then remove the lid, stir and simmer another 10 to thicken the gravy. Taste, then salt and pepper as needed.