This recipe is for Peggy who reminded me that I have not yet posted a Trinidad stew chicken recipe.I wonder what I have been waiting on.This post completely evaded me. Thank you once again for the reminder.
The Best Trinidad Stew Chicken
In Trinidad, and the wider Caribbean, when we say stew we are generally referring to stewing meat in browning made with brown sugar and a little oil which leaves the meat with a brown colour that is very tasty. I love to stew and I love to stew any kind of meat: chicken of course, beef, ox, goat, lamb, pork, agouti, any meat I can get my hands on. The colour and the flavour of stew meat, to me, is above any other way of cooking meat.
I prefer to stew my meats from scratch without that ready-made browning that you could buy in any super market. Originally in making browning, oil was placed in a deep pot to heat and a favourable amount of sugar was placed in the oil to simmer and melt. When the correct colour was attained water was poured over and used to cook meat. This method for some people was almost "skin threatening" because you could get burned badly while pouring in the water.
Recently, health professionals condemned this method and said we should instead stew our meat with little or no oil. How is this done? Place a deep pot on a fire and heat it. When hot, place a favourable amount of sugar (not too much or the stew could turn black) in the pot and allow to melt and bubble a little (and be careful it does not dry and burn). It should look golden brown and then a generous amount of water is added to make a brown liquid.No oil is necessary, because the meat has its own oil.
This method is not as dramatic as the original method when the water is added to the hot oil and sugar but nevertheless taste is not compromised. Sometimes the brown liquid (without the oil) would be bottled and stored for later use. I have met some people who still brown meat according to the original method.I myself like to do it the original way at times but lately I' ve really become a little health conscious and stew without oil.
Now, this stew chicken recipe is just the tip of the iceberg. We Trinis like to add other ingredients to this basic stew chicken recipe and make it a complete meal. The ingredients I'm talking about are potatoes, baigan (eggplant), pigeon peas, or any peas for that matter. Lately I've been using black beans and found that it really goes well with the stew chicken.
Trinidad Stew Chicken Recipe
Caution must be made not to "over brown" the sugar or the browning will be too dark and taste bitter. This is perhaps why some people buy ready-made browning at the supermarket so they don't go through the hassle of trying to make it themselves. Here I present to you now the healthy way to stew without oil. Enjoy!
1 chicken (2 -3 pounds), cut up, seasoned and marinated overnight (or at least for 1 hour)
3 tablespoons sugar
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 sprig chive, chopped
2 sprigs fine leaf thyme, chopped
2 leaves big leaf thyme, chopped
2 sprigs parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon tomato paste (optional)
salt to taste
pepper to taste
Heat a deep heavy pot on a medium fire. Add the sugar to the pot. Allow it to melt and simmer until it looks golden brown. Next add the marinated meat and ¼ cup of water. Allow the browning to coat the meat evenly.
Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 minutes. The chopped fresh herbs
Add 1½ cups of water to just about cover the chicken. Add salt, pepper and chopped herbs.
Cook until the meat is tender (about 25 - 30 minutes). You may add a teaspoon of tomato paste for taste. Serve with rice.
Here ends another exciting Trini recipe. Coming up in my next post I'll show you how to prepare a snack from a tree that grows right in my backyard.
Print this Trinidad Stew Chicken Recipe
Trinidad Stew Chicken
- a heavy pot
- 1 chicken 2 -3 lbs, cut up, seasoned and marinated overnight (or at least for 1 hour)
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 1 small onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 sprig chive chopped
- 2 sprigs fine leaf thyme chopped
- 2 leaves big leaf thyme chopped
- 2 sprigs parsley chopped
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste optional
- Salt and pepper to taste optional
- Heat a deep heavy pot on a medium fire. Add the sugar and allow it to melt and simmer until it looks golden brown.
- Add the marinated meat and ¼ cup 0f water. Allow the browning to coat the meat evenly. Lower the heat and allow to simmer for 2 mins.
- Add the chopped fresh herbs, salt pepper, and 1 ½ cups of water to just about cover the chicken. Cook until the meat is tender (about 25 - 30 mins). You may add a teaspoon of tomato paste for taste. Serve with rice.
Sounds good to me! I've never tried any food from Trinidad before.
You should try it. It's a different world of taste.
My grandmother would add the chicken directly to the browned sugar and once the chicken was coated she would then tip a small amount of water into the pot and cover for it to simmer. During the chicken coating process she was constantly stiring and turning the chicken.
I also use the same method...NO OIL 😉
That's the way I also do it sometimes as well but it requires a little more skill than to just throw in the water to stop the caramelizing process and then add the meat. You really have to know what you're doing :). In any case, from experience, both methods ( water before or after) realizes the same delicious stew chicken. Thanks for your comment and do stop by again.
Despite my Trini stepmother's mean persona, she was also a mean cook. I remember her making this when I first met her (she had met my father while she lived in Trinidad, got married, and moved to Florida.)
She usually served it with pita bread. I can't wait to make this here in MD!! Thank you for posting. 🙂
how do i cook a mean stew goat? do i follow the recipe like the stewed chicken and substitute goat for chicken? or is there a technique i don't know about?
For the goat you will have to pressure cook it first before stewing and instead of using water while stewing the goat use the stock. Now that you mentioned it I will have to do a stew goat for you to see. I already did curry goat.
thank you! 🙂 looking forward to it.
OMG im in love with ur site! was wondering though at what point would i have to put in potatoes if i wanted them in there and how long wud they have to cook for! im now starting this cooking this sad to say but ur site is my guide :DDD
The potato is put in last before the chicken is done. So don't put it in too early. Also you may have to adjust your seasonings to taste since potato absorbs salt while cooking. Other than that you're good to go 🙂
Have you all ever eaten macaroni and cheese with liver...it is divine. Would dare someone to put that recipe out there.
Made this today and added powder coconut milk to it.. 🙂
This was a good I tried an it came out good
I learned from a Trini friend and use oil and brown sugar to start. When that gets just ready to smoke I toss in the chicken that has been sitting in green seasoning and garlic and coat it evenly adding a little water where necessary. Once coated I add onions and stir constantly for 5 minutes. Add enough water to cover the chicken and then reduce heat and simmer. Will then add black-eyed peas tomato paste and seasoning and let it go for an hour or more on low. Delicious!
Some say beginning stages they use just sugar dry no oil and some say use sugar with oil
I find best results with no oil - what’s the authentic Trinidadian way ? Thanks
Hi, that is a good question. Beginning with sugar with oil is the traditional method, however sugar without oil came about with the hope of encouraging cooks to use less oil and so decrease the amount of oil people consume generally.
I tried this with both white and brown sugar and somehow i can't ever get the white sugar to caramelize - but it turns out perfectly with dark brown sugar - what is lablled as demerara here in Canada. Great recipe! I added some black-eyed peas and it they went really well with the stew. Love that site I got so many great recipes and techniques and ideas form it. .Why is your post from Pigeon Point no longer accessible?
Hi, Annie glad you enjoy my recipes. For the moment I'm doing some upgrades in the background. Rest assured the other posts will be up when I'm finished my maintenance work.