West Indian-style Chicken Stew

Cindy Hutson's indulgent recipe for sun-kissed and spicy chicken stew with-a-difference
West Indian-style Chicken Stew
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: plus 8 hrs marinating
  • Effort: medium


For the West Indian chicken brine

  • 400 g salt
  • 115 g honey
  • 12 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 10 allspice berries, crushed
  • 12 black peppercorns, freshly cracked
  • 4 tbsp jerk seasoning
  • 1 bunches thyme
  • 3 lemons, juice and zest
  • 2 litres water
  • 4 litres ice cubes
  • 1.8 kg skinless chicken breasts

For the piquant brown stew sauce

  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 375 ml white wine
  • 1 litres chicken stock
  • 1 bunches thyme
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Worcestershire sauce, to taste
  • 3 spring onions, chopped, to garnish

For the Jamaican rice and peas

  • 450 g red kidney beans, (or use Gungko peas)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp thyme, leaves only
  • 6 allspice berries
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 4 onions, chopped
  • 675 g white rice


1. Heat all the ingredients, except the ice, for the brine. Boil for 1 minute to dissolve the salt.

2. Remove from the heat and pour into a large container. Add the ice and leave to cool. Once the mixture is cold, add the chicken and leave for at least 8 hours - preferably overnight.

3. For the brown stew sauce, heat the butter and cook the garlic and onions over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes, until caramelised.

4. Stir in the wine and simmer until reduced by half.

5. Add the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

6. Stir in the thyme, salt, and Worcestershire sauce. Simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool until just warm. Transfer to a blender and whiz until smooth. Set aside to top the chicken.

7. For the rice and peas, place the beans into a large saucepan and top with water. Bring to the boil and boil or 10 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the butter, salt, thyme, and allspice.

8. When the beans are tender, add the scotch bonnet, coconut milk, and minced onions. Bring back to a boil and add the rice. Cover tightly with a lid, lower the heat to a slow simmer and cook for about 20 minutes until the rice is tender.

9. Remove the lid and carefully take out the scotch bonnet. Cut it up, removing the seeds and fold into the rice. Cover and let the rice sit for 5 minutes.

10. Meanwhile, remove the chicken from the brine and dry off with a clean towel.

11. Grill the chicken for 8-10 minutes, until cooked through.

12. Slice the chicken breasts. Spoon the rice out onto serving plates and fan the chicken over the rice. Top with the brown stew sauce and serve.

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