This incredible Brown Stew Chicken combines juicy marinated chicken thighs mixed with tender veggies and a sauce that’s full of Jamaican flavor! It’s a perfect dish for when you’re craving a taste of the Caribbean or need a switch up from the standard plain chicken dinners!
Tangy, Zesty, and Deliciously Unique Brown Stew Chicken!
Looking to spice up your weeknight meal rotation? This recipe is perfect. With a marinade done the night before, you’ll have this amazing weeknight meal done in a flash!
If you haven’t tried making your own Jamaican or Caribbean food—don’t worry! This dish is just as easy as it is delicious. You might even want to make extra — this meal only gets better the next day.
❤️ Why You'll Love This Recipe!
It’s packed with flavor! This recipe has no shortage of aromatic herbs and delicious spices. You can even adjust the spice level to make it as hot or mild as you wish!
It’s easy! The chicken marinade is done the night before, so when you’re ready to cook, most of the work is already done!
It’s unique! This recipe combines ginger, allspice, and thyme to make your weeknight chicken dish anything but boring!
This brown stew chicken recipe elevates the classic chicken stew by combining warm, fragrant herbs and spices with a luscious, rich sauce. This dish may have a few unfamiliar ingredients, but you’ll want to make this so often, you won’t regret buying them!
- Chicken - You can substitute boneless chicken breasts, but chicken thighs will stay moist and juicy. Bone-in or boneless chicken thighs are both commonly used in this recipe, so go whichever you prefer!
- Dark brown sugar - this adds a hint of sweetness and a rich caramelized flavor to the outside of the chicken as it browns.
- Scotch bonnet pepper - If scotch bonnet peppers are hard to find in your area like mine, you can substitute a habanero pepper or even a jalapeño pepper. (See Tips & Recipe Notes)
- Kosher Salt - Kosher salt’s flaky texture spreads evenly over food. You can substitute iodized or sea salt, but you’ll want to reduce the amount! (See Tips & Recipe Notes)
- Minced Garlic - A must have for nearly any dish! Mince your own or buy pre-minced.
- Green Onions - You’ll want to chop these, so the fresh onion flavor permeates the chicken thighs.
- Ginger Paste - You can use freshly grated ginger, packaged ginger paste, or even dried ginger in a pinch!
- Dried Thyme - This aromatic herb will impart that classic Jamaican flavor.
- Apple Cider Vinegar - Vinegar helps to make the meat super tender, while also helping to balance the flavors.
- Browning Sauce - A blend of caramel color and concentrated seasonings, this sauce is a supermarket hidden gem. Keep it around and add it to any sauce or gravy to deepen the flavor! You'll find the browning sauce near the liquid smoke (you need this in your life too) where the marinades and BBQ sauces are.
- Ground Black Pepper - Who can cook without pepper? This classic spice helps to add a zesty note to the dish.
- Ground Allspice - Known in the Caribbean as pimento, this warm spice isn’t just for baking! It adds an incredible depth of flavor.
- Olive Oil - One of the best cooking oils. Use extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) for best results.
- Yellow Onion - Yellow onions add a touch of sweetness but can be substituted for with either white or red onions.
- Carrots - Makes the stew hearty and soaks up the delicious sauce.
- Green and Red Bell Peppers - Adds crunch and that peppery goodness, without the spice.
- Diced Tomatoes - Be sure to drain these to prevent watering down the stew! Fire roasted tomatoes are my favorite for this tasty stew!
- Bay Leaves- These add a delicious, light aroma to the dish.
- Chicken Broth - Use homemade or your favorite store-bought chicken broth brand.
💭 Tips & Recipe Notes
Scotch Bonnet Peppers can be hard to find and can be substituted with habaneros or even jalapeños.
However, the Scoville Heat Units (the measurement scale for the spiciness of chili peppers) are vastly different for these peppers. A jalapeño ranks at 2,500-8,000 SHU, and a scotch bonnets and habaneros both rank at 100,000-350,000 SHU. The jalapeño will give you a milder heat, and the scotch bonnet or habanero will give you a more intense heat.
Wear gloves while chopping any chili peppers - you don’t want to get the pepper oils on your skin or in your eyes!
Not all salt is the same! Kosher salt is lighter in weight than regular table salt or sea salt and usually requires more to achieve the same flavor.
If you must substitute table salt for the kosher salt, add half the amount (one tablespoon). You can always add more salt later if you wish!
Cooking times may vary when making the brown stew chicken. Your goal is to reduce the liquid of the stew by half.
Keep an eye on your stew to make sure it reduces properly. If your stove takes a little longer, you can remove the chicken once it’s fully cooked and add it back in at the end for a few minutes to prevent overcooking.
This brown stew chicken recipe can be easily made in an Instant Pot!
Use the Sauté setting to brown your chicken and veggies. When you’re ready to simmer, seal the Instant Pot according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Set to Manual, High Pressure, for 20 minutes.
Finish with a quick pressure release. If you need to reduce more liquid, you can turn the Sauté setting back on and simmer until the liquid is properly reduced.
🔪 Step-by-Step Instructions
Transport your kitchen to the Caribbean with this mind-blowing main dish! Your marinade will do all the hard work for you, and you’ll be amazed at the incredible flavor of this delicious brown stew chicken.
- Prep. Remove the 2 pounds of chicken from packaging, rinse under cool water and pat dry. Set aside. (Don’t forget to sanitize your sink!)
Next, mince 2 tablespoons of garlic, grate 1 tablespoon of ginger if using fresh, and chop 2 tablespoons of green onions. Wearing gloves, seed and dice 1 scotch bonnet pepper.
- Make the marinade. In a large mixing bowl, add 2 tablespoons of dark brown sugar, the diced scotch bonnet, 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of green onions, 1 tablespoon of ginger paste, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of browning sauce, 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper, ½ teaspoon of ground allspice. Combine well.
- Add the chicken. Add in the chicken thighs, and using tongs or your gloved hand, massage the marinade into the meat. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, but preferably overnight (12 hours is optimal).
- Prep for the stew. Chop one large yellow onion (about 1 cup), slice 3 large carrots, and chop half of a green bell pepper and half of a red bell pepper. Set aside.
Then, use your tongs to remove the chicken from the marinade, shaking off excess and setting aside (reserve the marinade).
Next, in a large stock pot or Dutch oven, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and heat to medium high heat.
- Sear the chicken. Working in batches, add the chicken and brown on both sides. It’ll take about 2-3 minutes per side. Set aside on a clean plate when done.
- Saute the veggies. In the same pot, add the onion and stir until brown, but not burnt. Add the carrots and bell peppers, stir to combine. Then add the 14 ounces of drained, diced tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes. Make sure you stir frequently!
- Make the stew. Add the chicken broth and reserved marinade to the pot. Scrape the bottom of the pot to get all the delicious flavor up. Next, add the chicken pieces and 2 bay leaves. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to a very low simmer.
- Simmer. Cook uncovered for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- Serve and enjoy. When the stew has reduced, serve while hot, and enjoy!
🥡 Storing & Reheating
Stews only get better the next day! Stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, this will last 3- 4 days for the best flavor.
This meal freezes perfectly! Store in an airtight container, preferably wrapped with cling film or foil to prevent any freezer burn. It can hang out in your freezer for up to 3 months for the best quality.
To keep the best flavor, reheating this stewed chicken on the stove with low heat is the best option. You’ll want to simmer it until it looks as hot and delicious as the day you made it.
If you’re in a pinch, the microwave works too! Be sure to cover your dish with a paper towel to prevent splatter and heat for 60-second increments until hot, stirring in between.
It can be, but it doesn’t have to! If you’re not a huge fan of heat, use jalapeño or omit the hot peppers altogether. If you love heat, but can’t find scotch bonnets or habaneros, consider using a couple of jalapeños, and leave in the seeds!
Brown stew chicken would be great with Caribbean stewed cabbage, your favorite potato dish, or a deliciously crusty, rustic bread!
You should be able to find browning sauce at most grocery stores, typically in the aisle with marinades and BBQ sauces. Ask a grocery store clerk for help if you can’t find it!
Brown Stew Chicken
For The Marinade
- 2 lbs boneless chicken thighs (6-8 thighs)
- 2 Tbsp dark brown sugar
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (diced and seeded or 1 diced seeded Habanero pepper)
- 2 Tbsp Kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic (4-6 garlic cloves minced)
- 2 Tbsp green onions (chopped, 1-2 green onions)
- 1 Tbsp ginger paste (fresh, packaged or dry)
- 1 Tbsp dried thyme
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp browning sauce
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- ½ tsp ground allspice
For The Stew
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion (about 1 ½-2 cups diced)
- 3 large carrots (washed and sliced)
- ½ green bell pepper (chopped or sliced)
- ½ red bell pepper (chopped or sliced)
- 14 oz diced tomatoes (canned, drained)
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 cups chicken broth
- Remove chicken from packaging, rinse under cool water and pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels. Set aside.
- Mince the garlic, slice the green onions, and seed and dice the scotch bonnet pepper (be sure to wear gloves, scotch bonnets are very hot, you don't want the pepper oils on your hands).2 Tbsp minced garlic, 2 Tbsp green onions, 1 scotch bonnet pepper
- In a large mixing bowl add dark brown sugar, scotch bonnet, salt, green onion, ginger, thyme, apple cider vinegar, browning sauce, pepper, and allspice.2 Tbsp dark brown sugar, 1 scotch bonnet pepper, 2 Tbsp Kosher salt, 2 Tbsp minced garlic, 2 Tbsp green onions, 1 Tbsp ginger paste, 1 Tbsp dried thyme, 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, 2 tsp browning sauce, 1 tsp ground black pepper, ½ tsp ground allspice
- Combine all ingredients, add in chicken thighs, using tongs or a gloved hand rub the marinade into the chicken meat.
- Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (overnight 12 to 24 hrs is optimal for the best flavor).
Make The Stew
- With tongs remove the chicken from the marinade, shake off or scrape any excess marinade from the chicken pieces and set them aside for later (reserve the marinade as you will add all of it to the stew).
- In a large stock pot or dutch oven, add olive oil, then bring to medium-high heat.2 Tbsp olive oil
- Working in batches, add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides, or about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set it aside on a clean plate.
- In the same pot at medium high heat, add in the onion, stir for a couple minutes until onion turns brown (not burnt). Add the carrots and bell peppers, stir to combine. Then add in the tomatoes, stir for 2-3 minutes.1 medium yellow onion, 3 large carrots, ½ green bell pepper, ½ red bell pepper, 14 oz diced tomatoes
- Add chicken broth to the pot, chicken pieces, bay leaves, and the reserved marinade (scrape the bottom of your pot to get up all the bits).2 bay leaves
- Bring to rapid boil, then reduce heat to get a very low boil/simmer.
- Cook uncovered for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until the liquid has reduced by half.
- When the stew has reduced to your satisfaction, serve over rice, and enjoy!
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!