Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken


  • 1 tablespoon minced habanero pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger root
  • ½ cup sliced green onions, divided
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 8 (5 ounce) bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • ⅓ cup ketchup
  • 2bay leaves
  • 1 cup sliced carrot
  • 1 cup quartered baby bell peppers
  • Directions

  • Step 1

    Place habanero, thyme, garlic, ginger, light parts of green onions, brown sugar, black pepper, kosher salt, smoked paprika, allspice, and vinegar for marinade into a large mixing bowl and whisk to combine.


  • Step 2

    Make 2 slices into the skin side of each thigh, perpendicular to the bone, about 1 inch apart, cutting all the way down to the bone. Add chicken thighs to the marinade and toss thoroughly until evenly coated. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the chicken and transfer to the refrigerator, 12 hours or overnight. If possible, toss several times during the marinating time.

  • Step 3

    Remove the chicken from the marinade. Scrape off any chunks of marinade from chicken into the bowl and reserve for later.

  • Step 4

    Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, deep, heavy-bottomed skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat until almost smoking hot. Add chicken and brown well on both sides, about 5 minutes, working in batches if necessary. Once all the chicken is browned, remove to the marinade bowl and reserve.

  • Step 5

    Heat the same pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt; saute in the fat until golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar and cook until everything caramelizes and turns a dark brown, 3 to 5 minutes more.

  • Step 6

    Carefully add chicken broth, ketchup, and bay leaves to the pan; bring to a boil. Add carrots, bell peppers, browned chicken thighs, and reserved marinade.

  • Step 7

    Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is tender and no longer pink in the centers, and the sauce has reduced and thickened, 1 to 1 1/2 hours, skimming the excess fat that comes to the top and basting the chicken with the sauce occasionally. Taste and adjust seasoning. Toss in reserved sliced green onions. Serve immediately.

  • Chef's Notes:

    You could get away with marinating the chicken for only 4 hours or so, but longer is better.

    You can use diced tomatoes instead of ketchup, if desired. You can use any seasonal vegetables that you like in this.

    If the chicken becomes tender before the sauce reduces, just remove it and keep it warm while the sauce continues to simmer. If the sauce reduces and thickens before the chicken becomes tender, just add a splash of water and continue to cook until chicken is done.

    If you want a less sweet flavor profile, just use 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in the marinade.

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