Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

4.65 from 14 votes

Brown Stew Chicken is a Jamaican classic. It consists of chicken cooked in a browning sauce and veggies. This delicious stew is best enjoyed with coconut rice or mashed potatoes.

Here are some more of my Caribbean recipes that you might like: Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge, Plantain Porridge, Haitian Epis, Haitian Spaghetti, and Cuban Chicken Noodle Soup.

Jamaican brown stew chicken served in a pan.
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About Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Brown Stew Chicken is a classic Jamaican (Caribbean) stew dish made with bone-in chicken, vegetables, browning sauce, and aromatic spices.

This chicken stew is very popular among Jamaican households and English-speaking Caribbean islands, such as Antigua, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Saint Lucia, Grenada, Belize, Dominica, etc.

The browning sauce gives this chicken dish a fantastic color and flavor, making it different from other chicken stew dishes. You can make the sauce from scratch like I did or buy it from a store to save time.

What Is Browning Sauce

Browning sauce is a popular condiment in Caribbean households. It is made using cane sugar and adds a depth of flavor and dark color to stews and soups.

You can easily find it in supermarkets, but I prefer to make my own from scratch, as it is super easy and economical. If you go for the store-bought sauce, look out for Gravy Master, Grace, or Kitchen Bouquet brands.

The homemade browning sauce is thinner than the store-bought one. So if you use store-bought sauce, use just ¾ cup compared to 1 cup of homemade sauce.

Ingredients

Chicken – It’s preferable to use bone-in chicken in this recipe, as the bones add a lot of flavor to the stew. But if you are not a fan of bone-in chicken, use boneless chicken instead. You can choose to keep the skin on or off.

To Marinate The Chicken – To marinate the chicken, you will need chicken bouillon powder, ginger, garlic, thyme, salt, and ground black pepper.

To Make The Browning Sauce, you will need brown sugar and water. Brown sugar is caramelized and mixed with water to make the sauce.

To Make The Gravy – You will need oil, onions, garlic, green and red bell peppers, ketchup, hot sauce, chicken stock, and salt.

Adjust the amount of hot sauce depending on how spicy you want the stew to be.

How To Make Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Marinate The Chicken

Mix 2 pounds (1 kg) of bone-in skinless chicken with 2 tablespoon white vinegar and wash it with water. This step removes any extra smell from the chicken. Wipe the pieces dry using a paper towel.

Note – Use 1 pound (500 g) if using boneless chicken.

Transfer the chicken pieces to a large bowl. Add the following ingredients to the bowl and mix well with the chicken.

  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
Marination ingredients added to a bowl.

Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate for at least an hour or better overnight.

Marinated chicken.

Make The Browning Sauce

If you are buying the sauce, skip this process.

Add ½ cup of light brown sugar to a small, light-colored skillet and cook on medium-low heat until it melts and turns dark brown (4-5 minutes). Stir continuously using a silicon spatula to ensure the sugar doesn’t scorch.

Note: The sugar can go from perfectly browned to burnt in just a few seconds, so be very careful at this step.

Light brown sugar added to a skillet.
Melted and browned sugar.

Once the sugar is dark brown, add 1 cup of water in a thin stream while stirring it with a wire whisk. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved in water. Remove the pan from heat and keep it aside.

Water added to the skillet.
Ready brown sauce.

Make The Gravy

Take out the chicken from the refrigerator and let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature to avoid seizing (getting dried) while frying it.

To make the gravy, heat ¼ cup of any neutral-flavored oil in a large cast-iron pot over high heat.

Oil heating in a large pot.

When the oil is hot, arrange the marinated chicken pieces in the pot in a single layer.

Chicken pieces arranged in the pot in a single layer.

Cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat until the chicken is nicely browned on the bottom. Then, flip the pieces using tongs and cook for another 2-3 minutes so that they brown well on the other side. Remove the browned chicken to a plate.

Browned chicken.

In the same pot, add the following ingredients and cook for 2-3 minutes.

  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup sliced green pepper
  • ½ cup sliced red pepper
Onions, garlic and bell peppers added to the pot.

Add 2 tablespoon ketchup and 1 teaspoon hot sauce to the pot and cook for another minute.

Ketchup and hot sauce added to the pot.

Add the browning sauce we made earlier and the chicken stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. If using store-bought browning sauce, use ¾ cup of it.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and stir well.

Browning sauce, chicken broth and salt to taste added to the pot.

Add the browned chicken pieces to the pot and mix everything.

Browned chicken added to the pot.

Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is tender.

Check for salt and pepper and add more if required.

Pot covered with a lid.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Ready Jamaican brown stew chicken.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the substitutes for browning sauce in brown stew chicken recipe?

Browning sauce is the key ingredient of this recipe, which cannot be replaced. Some people confuse browning sauce with Worcestershire sauce, but it cannot be used as a substitute.

Can I use fish Instead of chicken to make Jamaican stew?

Yes, definitely! You can use any fish fillet instead of chicken. The process and ingredients will remain the same. Just ensure the cooking time is different, as fish tend to cook faster.

You can make this stew using beef or pork as well.

How do you thicken the browning sauce?

Add all-purpose flour or cornstarch slurry to the ready sauce and cook until it thickens.

How do I make slow-cooker Jamaican brown stew chicken?

You can make this Jamaican stew chicken in a slow cooker as well. Make the browning sauce in a pan over the stovetop.

Marinate the chicken and cook it on a pan over the stovetop till it’s browned from both sides.

Add all the ingredients, including the chicken and browning sauce, to the slow cooker and cook on high for about 3 to 4 hours.

Serving Suggestions

This chicken stew is traditionally served with Jamaican rice and peas, rice and beans, coconut rice, or fried plantains.

But it also tastes great with steamed white rice, brown rice, or quinoa.

I like to whip up a quick batch of my best-ever Instant Pot Garlic Mashed Potatoes and serve this stew over it.

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Brown Stew Chicken is a Jamaican classic where chicken is cooked in a browning sauce and veggies. This delicious stew is best enjoyed with coconut rice or mashed potatoes.
4.65 from 14 votes

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken Recipe

Brown Stew Chicken is a Jamaican classic where chicken is cooked in a browning sauce and veggies. This delicious stew is best enjoyed with coconut rice or mashed potatoes.
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients 

To Make The Marinade

  • 2 pounds bone-in skinless chicken (1 kg, cut into 1 and ½ inch pieces. Use 1 pound (500 g) if using boneless.)
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chicken bouillon powder
  • ½ teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons mixed fresh herbs (I used basil, parsley and sage)

To Make The Browning Sauce

  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup warm water

To Make The Gravy

  • ¼ cup oil
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ cup sliced green bell pepper
  • ½ cup sliced red bell pepper
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon hot sauce
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
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Instructions 

Marinate The Chicken

  • Mix the chicken with white vinegar and wash it with water. This step removes any extra smell from the chicken. Wipe the pieces dry using a paper towel.
  • Add the chicken pieces to a large bowl. Add salt, ground black pepper, chicken bouillon powder, minced ginger, and minced garlic, and mix well with the chicken.
  • Cover the bowl with a lid and refrigerate for at least an hour or better overnight.

Make The Browning Sauce

  • Add light brown sugar to a small, light-colored skillet and cook on medium-low heat until it melts and turns dark brown. Stir continuously using a silicon spatula to ensure the sugar doesn’t scorch.
  • The sugar goes from perfectly browned to burnt in just a few seconds. So be very careful at this step.
  • Once the sugar has melted and become slightly darker, add 1 cup of water in a thin stream and keep mixing well until all the sugar dissolves in the water. Remove the pan from heat and keep it aside.

Make The Gravy

  • Heat oil in a large cast-iron pot over high heat. When the oil is hot, arrange the marinated chicken pieces in the pot in a single layer.
  • Cook for 2-3 minutes on high heat until the chicken is nicely browned on the bottom. Then, flip the pieces using tongs and cook for another 2-3 minutes so that it browns well on the other side as well. Remove the browned chicken to a plate.
  • Add onions, garlic, green pepper, and red pepper and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add ketchup and hot sauce, and cook for another minute. Add the browning sauce we made earlier and the chicken stock and bring the mixture to a boil. If using store-bought browning sauce, use ¾ cup of it.
  • Add salt and stir well.
  • Now add the browned chicken pieces to the pot and mix everything.
  • Cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 25-30 minutes until the chicken is tender.
  • Check for salt and pepper and add more if required.
  • Serve hot.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

Don’t use your best pan to make the browning sauce. The pan might get some stains while burning the sugar which won’t go later.
You can add more hot sauce if you like spicy.
Make sure to bring the refrigerated chicken to room temperature before frying to avoid seizing (getting dry).

Nutrition

Calories: 433kcal, Carbohydrates: 34g, Protein: 28g, Fat: 20g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 5g, Monounsaturated Fat: 11g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 131mg, Sodium: 1305mg, Potassium: 497mg, Fiber: 0.5g, Sugar: 30g, Vitamin A: 81IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 50mg, Iron: 2mg
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4 Comments

  1. I added all the ingredients in a pot, browned the chicken then added the chicken to the pot, simmer for 30mins… done!