Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken
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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 –
- 4 pounds bone-in chicken thighs or drumsticks
- 2 teaspoons chicken bouillon or chicken base
- ¼ cup chopped scallions
- 2 habanero peppers seeded and minced
- 2 tablespoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoons black pepper
For the Brown Chicken Stew –
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 large onion peeled and chopped
- 2 large carrots sliced
- 1 bell pepper seeded and chopped
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon browning seasoning
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 cups water
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.
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Could you make this with boneless skinless chicken thighs?
Yes, you can! Follow the directions as written. :)
It needed salt and acid so I added salt and some red wine vinegar and it needed to cook for more than 20 minutes
I always love your recipe and the way you deliver so easily. I followed the recipe exactly as it says the result was awesome. I enjoyed it with my husband. Thanks for sharing.
Hi! I love so many of your recipes, but I can’t stand bone-in chicken. Can I use chicken tenderloins, or boneless skinless breasts? And can I replace the habaneros with jalapenos? Habaneros are too spicy for me.
Sure you can! Depending on the size of your chicken pieces, you may want to reduce the cook time 5-10 minutes. (Or remove them to thicken the gravy a little longer then add them back in.) You can definitely reduce or swap the habaneros as well. :)
I followed the recipe exactly as it says but mine came out thinner and not as dark as the picture above.
I would suggest adding a small amt of a cornstarch slurry if it isn’t quite thick enough. I like mine a little thicker. You might consider adding less water as well, but 4 cups is about right for this amount of chicken.
Can this be made in the slow cooker?
You can! However, you will still need to brown the chicken on the stovetop first. Then move everything to the slow cooker and set on low for 5-6 hours or high for 3-4 hours.
Can you use a combination of thighs and drumsticks.
Hi Jackie, Absolutely!
This was really tasty! The chicken fell right off the bone! It paired so well with the rice as well!
This Jamaican stew is one of the most flavorful things I have made in a long time! quarantine has made a bland cook out of me…