Recipe: Stew Chicken from Belize
Although there are many variations on Stew Chicken, most traditional recipes keep it simple – just chicken, red recado, onion, and water. I added bell pepper, Habanero, and lime juice because this variation seems a little more lively.
2 lbs chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs because I didn’t want all the work of a whole chicken this time)
1/2 cup red recado (see recipe)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1 Habanero, optional
a splash fresh lime juice or vinegar to taste
1. Marinate chicken in red recado overnight (or for at least 1 hour)
2. Heat up oil in a pot over medium. Add chicken and brown in batches as necessary.
3. Remove chicken and add bell pepper and onion and cook until soft.
4. Return chicken to the pot. Toss in optional Habanero (whole for mild spice, or cut up for an intense heat). Cover chicken with water.
5. Stew chicken until meat is falling apart (or off the bones, if you use bone-in meat). Add a splash of lime juice or vinegar to brighten up the flavor. Adjust seasonings as necessary.
Serve hot on top of Johnny Cakes or with Rice and Beans. Fried plantains make a quick and easy side dish.
here's another recipe...
BELIZEAN STEW CHICKEN
1 whole chicken or 4 leg quarters (4 thighs, 4 drumsticks)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. white pepper
1 pointer finger-sized sliver of recado
1 sliced onion
2 Tbsp. white vinegar
2 cups chicken broth (or water)
2 tsp. brown sugar
1.5 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Put the recado in a gallon-sized ziploc or small plastic bag and mash it up with a teaspoon or so of vegetable oil. It’ll be hard to mash up but it beats having your hands stained red. Its okay if you still have large chunks–it’ll still smear on the chicken just fine.
Separate the legs from the thighs if they’re still attached
Put one piece of chicken at a time into the bag to coat with the recado mixture and set aside; season onions with recado mixture as well
Season chicken with salt & pepper
Brown chicken in hot oil and set aside
Pour off excess fat. Add vinegar, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar to pan and bring to a boil, deglazing the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon
Add sliced onion to the pot until they cook down a little
Add chicken to the pot and simmer until the stewed chicken is to your liking, making sure to rotate the chicken once in a while so each side gets equally saucy.
A big part of Belize’s national dish is the stewed chicken that accompanies the coconut-flavored rice and beans. Chicken cuts stewed and simmered in rich gravy add richness to a meal that used to be a traditional Belizean Sunday lunch. Nowadays, with restaurants serving this dish as an everyday special, you can have your fill any time the desire hits.
Of course, if you want to recreate this marvelous meal at home, this recipe can certainly come in handy! Bear in mind that each district of the country has its own tweak to the basic recipe, but you just cannot go wrong with a few key ingredients and a little patience.
1 large chicken (4lbs) cut into pieces
Seasonings of choice: seasoned salt, chili powder, complete seasoning/sazon complete, fresh cracked black pepper
1 medium bell pepper, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cube of recado (about a 1-inch cube for this size chicken)
Limes for washing chicken
First of all, yes, we Belizeans insist on washing our chicken, with limes or sour oranges, and in a pinch, vinegar works fine too. Just a quick rinse: soaking the meat in the acid, rinsing off with fresh water, then it’s ready for seasoning with what you have at hand.
I use seasoned salt, a little chili powder and complete seasoning generously, as they make the gravy much more flavorful – even to the point that you don’t even need salt!
Once the chicken is seasoned, dice up the onions, peppers and garlic and throw them in a large pan with a heated tablespoon of vegetable oil.
Sautee the veggies (smell that wonderful trio as it cooks up nicely!), then toss in the chicken cuts, moving around the pieces of meat so that each touches the bottom of the pan for a little browning ahead.
Cover the pan and let it steam and sizzle.
After about 5 minutes, stir the meat around a bit, turning each piece to get a little sizzle on both sides, then cover again.
Lower the flame to medium and cover the chicken again to let out its own gravy (brought on from the steam).
While that happens, be sure to grab your piece of recado and in a small bowl, add some water and slowly break down the recado. This happens as you pinch it between thumb, index and middle fingers, melting it into the water. The water will turn a rich red, and it will give the gravy the color and that ‘extra’ flavor.
The chicken should be sizzling away in the pan and the juices will have dried up somewhat. If the pan still looks like it’s got quite some liquid, don’t add too much of the recado water. Wait till the liquid in the pan has evaporated slightly, which means you might have to take the lid off the pan to monitor this (don’t worry, you’re looking at 5 minutes max!).
Add the recado-water and cover up the pan once more, letting the color adhere to the chicken and flavoring every piece!
After about 20 more minutes of simmering away, and that chicken is good to go! Taste the gravy and if you feel it’s needing some salt, add a tiny pinch at a time, stirring and adjusting.
Of course, I cook the dark meat with the skin on. For health (ha) reasons, just strip the skin off before serving on your rice and beans! The best way to serve this full meal is accompanied by fried ripe plantains, some potato salad, and the hot stuff!
You can serve this chicken with white rice, that gravy will add major flavor to it! A nice green salad on the side would make it a much healthier option too!
San Pedro Sun
Stew Chicken with Rice & Beans
This Belizean combination is without a doubt the most abundant meal in Belize. From north to south, east to west and out on the cayes, you won’t go anywhere without coming across a plate of Stew Chicken with rice and beans.
With our easy to make recipe you can enjoy some Belizean flavour in the comfort of your home.
- 1 4-lb. Chicken cut into small pieces
- 1 Clove garlic
- 1 tsp. Thyme, salt, pepper
- 1 tiny sliver of ginger
- 2 tbsps. Chopped onions
- 1 tbsp. Chopped green or red sweet pepper
- 1/4 tsp. Cumin ( cominos)
- 1 tsp. Brown sugar
- 1 small ripe tomato
- Dime size red recado
- Vinegar or lemon juice
- Wash chicken pieces
- Season with, vinegar or lemon juice, red recado, salt, pepper, thyme, cumin, cilantro.
- Heat 2 tbsps. Cooking oil, add brown sugar and watch carefully to avoid burning. Let sugar cook until completely melted and turns dark brown.
- Add clove of garlic that has been smashed and chopped as fine as possible.
- Add ginger and fry, stirring, remove ginger when it gets brown.
- Add chicken and brown properly on all sides.
- Add remaining seasoning from chicken, chopped onions, sweet pepper and tomato and add about a half cup of water.
- Reduce heat to medium and cover pot. Let simmer, adding water so that pot is never completely dry.
- Cook for about 1 hour until chicken is very tender.
Rice & Beans:
- 1 lb. red kidney beans
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 2 lbs. rice
- Black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. thyme
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 2 plugs garlic ( crushed)
- 1 dried coconut (grated)( to give 1 cup milk)
- 6-8 cups water
- Collect all ingredients
- Soak beans for 4-6 hours
- Boil beans with garlic, onion, until tender.
- Season soften beans with black pepper, thyme & salt
- Add coconut milk. Stir & taste. Let boil
- Clean /Wash rice
- Add rice to seasoned beans. Stir, then cover. Cook until water is absorb or rice is tender. If necessary add more water gradually and continue cooking until rice is tender
This goes perfect with an ice cold beer. Preferable a Belikin Beer if you have one!
Chaa Creek blog