Basic Trinidad Stewed Chicken

There are some dishes that you learn to cook because they are the staple meals in your household. Stew[ed] chicken is one of those dishes. If there is one think you need to know to cook if you are from Trinidad and Tobago, is how to stew meat. You don't want to know how many times I've heard people say "I hope you can at least stew chicken".

Trinidad Stew Chicken

The process of stewing is important because it is the basis of so many other dishes we eat. Which is really the main reason why knowing how to stew not just chicken, but any other meat, is important to us.

Stewing is basically "browning" meats in sugar. A lot of people are afraid of browning meat because though the process is easy it can be easily messed up resulting in a very very bitter meat.

What is browning? It's burning (caramelizing) sugar to a brown color then adding your meat to it. 

Stewing chicken has taught me that sugar is not to be played with. I can be watching it caramelize and decide to turn around to get something quickly and get back to a pot of burnt sugar on the pot and spoon that now requires me soaking and chiseling off my pot. So I warn you: DO NOT WALK AWAY WHILE BROWNING THE SUGAR.

Seasoning your chicken is important. I used a whole chicken for this recipe. I actually asked my butcher to cut it into "stew" pieces for me. They also cut into "curry" pieces for me which is usually smaller pieces than stew.

I seasoned as usual with my green seasoning and thyme, green peppers (any color would work) onions, scallions and some salt. I seasoned just before I got to cooking. You can season earlier if you have time. 

Trinidad Stew Chicken

Now to start with the main step: "browning the sugar"

Take a heavy pan and put on medium heat then add your oil and let that heat through. 

Then add your sugar as evenly as possible across the bottom of the pan.

Trinidad Stew Chicken

And the process of burning has started. We are going to wait until all (or majority. Uneven burners sometimes burn one side more than the other) of the sugar is caramelized. 

DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED. (Don't say I didn't warn you)

In about 5 - 6 minutes you will have a pot of caramelized sugar.

Trinidad Stew Chicken

You just made your own browning. Yaay!!

Now we dump add the chicken to the pot of sugar. It's going to sizzle or "sing" as we refer to that noise. Stir to evenly coat the chicken with the browning. Continue stirring till most of that water that the chicken created when added is dried out. Then add water to the pot

Trinidad Stew Chicken

Now it's the easy part of the meal. Leaving the chicken to cook covered for about 10 minutes.

When the water has disintegrated a bit I add my ketchup and other optional things (hot pepper, garlic, pimento seeds, tomato, salt and pepper to taste). Stir and cook for another 10 minutes till chicken is tender.

Add more water if the chicken is still not tender (you don't want it falling off the bone either. It will be overcooked) and if you want more sauce. Also taste to make adjustments for salt or pepper as you see fit.

Trinidad Stew Chicken

Then serve with white rice, dumplings (my favorite option) or even with provisions. Or just bread is another great option.

This can be done with other meats too like beef or lamb that are just as yummy.

Trinidad Stew Chicken

This is a very basic stew chicken recipe. The main process of browning the sugar is what is important, but after the variations of additions are endless.

I would love to know how many other people do this "browning" process. Is this something new to you? Do you stew your meat this way?


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Trinidad Stew Chicken

by Home Made Zagat
Prep Time: 00:10
Cook Time: 00:30
Keywords: saute entree chicken
Ingredients (Serves 4)
  • 1 whole chicken, cut up into serving sizes
  • 4 tbsp green seasoning
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bell pepper (or half of 2 different colors)
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tbsp tomato sauce

Optional Ingredients
  • 4 pimento seeds
  • 1 hot pepper
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

Instructions
Season chicken with green seasoning
Add bell peppers, thyme, and onions and set aside (can be done the night before)
Heat pot with oil on medium heat
Add sugar, coating bottom of pot
Allow to brown (not burn)
Add chicken to pot and stir continuously, coating chicken in browning
Continue stirring, until majority of the water disappears
Add water
Add optional ingredients if using
Cover and cook for ten minutes
Add ketchup and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add more water if needed (chicken still needs to cook or you would like to create more gravy)
Cook for another 10 minutes
Serve with rice, provision or dumplings



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