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Brown stew chicken with rice and peas

This classic Jamaican dish is like the cousin to the French version, coq au vin. The chicken is braised down in a rich and flavourful sauce of vegetables and served on top of delicious and fluffy rice and peas. It's one of those dishes you can't mess up once you have seasoned it well and allow the ingredients to mix. 



Brown Stew Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk green onion, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • 5 whole pimento seeds, whole or crushed
  • Small piece fresh ginger, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon browning seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, optional
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoon dark brown sugar, packed
  • 2 cups chicken stock, low sodium
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • Neutral oil, for cooking

Rice and Peas

  • 1 cup dried red kidney beans, rinsed
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 stalks scallion or green onion
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2-inch piece ginger
  • 1 whole scotch bonnet pepper
  • 5 pimento seeds or whole allspice berries
  • 2 cups uncooked parboiled rice
  • 4 to 5 cups water plus more/less as needed to soften red kidney beans
  • 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 whole vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or as desired
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Brown Stew Chicken

  1. In a large mixing bowl or plastic storage bag, combine chicken, onions, red and green bell peppers, garlic, green onions, thyme, bay leaves, scotch bonnet pepper, allspice berries (pimento seeds), ginger, browning, soy sauce, salt, black pepper and brown sugar. Season the chicken, ensuring it is well coated, and allow it to marinate for an hour overnight if possible.
  2. Over medium-high heat, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or skillet. Remove the chicken from the marinade (reserve marinade – leave the vegetables and seasonings in the mixing bowl), and braise each side until browned.
  3. Stir in the stock and reserved marinade once the chicken pieces are browned on all sides. Cover the pot and bring all the ingredients to a boil. After about 20 minutes, remove the lid, add ketchup and reduce the heat to medium-low. 
  4. Cover and let simmer until the chicken is tender and the sauce has reduced. 

Peas and Rice 

  1. Rinse beans and place in a medium-sized bowl. Add fresh water, scallion, garlic, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger and thyme. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and allow to soak overnight.
  2. In a large pot, pour in the bean mixture (including the water now infused with flavour) and add three cups of water. Bring to a boil over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally. Ensure there is enough water to cover the beans at all times until softened – you may need to add one to three cups of water at the halfway point. The boiling process to cook the beans will take 30 minutes to an hour, depending on how long you've soaked your beans.
  3. When beans are tender and the liquid reduced, stir in coconut milk seasoning and allow to boil for five to seven minutes. Add rinsed rice, cover and simmer over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes or until liquid has absorbed; adjust the heat as necessary to maintain a very gentle simmer.
  4. Remove from the heat and let steam for 10 minutes, then discard the thyme sprigs, ginger, scallion, pimento seeds and scotch bonnet. Using a fork, fluff the rice and beans. 

TIP: Feel free to substitute the chives and pesto with other fresh or dried herbs. If using dried, one teaspoon total will be perfect!


  1. Serve everything hot, with the rice and peas on a plate and top with brown stew chicken. Enjoy!


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