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jamaican brown stew chicken
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4.06 from 18 votes

Jamaican Brown Stew Chicken

Course Main, Main Course
Cuisine Jamaican
Keyword browning recipe, chicken recipes, island chicken, jamaican, stew chicken
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 6 serves
Author Divas Can Cook


  • 3.5 lbs chicken pieces bone-in (washed and dried) *see note*
  • 1 cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1/2 cup hot water
  • 1 teaspoon seasoning salt optional
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon I used Better Than Bouillon brand
  • 1- 2 tablespoons olive oil for coating chicken
  • 1 tablespoon smoked salt
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar packed
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 4 cloves garlic chopped, divided
  • 1 small white onion chopped, divided
  • 1 green bell pepper chopped, divided
  • 1 red bell pepper chopped, divided
  • 1 yellow bell pepper chopped, divided
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper sliced in half
  • 1 pimento sliced in half (optional)
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ginger grated (can add more if desired)
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 1/2 -3 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary chopped
  • Additional seasonings: salt ginger &, garlic powder.


  • Add coconut palm sugar to a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Stir until sugar begins to melt and has the texture of melted chocolate.
  • Continue to cook, stirring constantly until mixture is very dark brown. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SCORCH! The mixture will be very smokey. Reduce heat if needed.
  • Turn off heat and slowly add in very hot water, a little at a time, while stirring.
  • Remove from heat and pour into a glass measuring cup.
  • Stir in vegetable bouillon and salt.
  • Pour into a bottle once cooled. It's now ready to use. Set aside.
  • Coat chicken lightly in olive oil
  • In a bowl combine smoked salt, black pepper, garlic powder, brown sugar, and smoked paprika.
  • Sprinkle seasoning mixture over chicken and massage into the chicken.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of browning to chicken and massage into the chicken.
  • Place chicken in a large ziplock bag.
  • Add in HALF of the fresh garlic, onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, scotch bonnet pepper, pimento (if using) and all of the fresh ginger.
  • Toss so that everything is evenly distributed.
  • Add half of the fresh thyme sprigs (Leave the sprigs whole)
  • Refrigerate overnight.
  • Remove chicken from the bag (discarding vegetables) and let the chicken come to room temperature. Dry the chicken off a bit if needed before searing.
  • Heat a couple tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large, deep steel or cast iron skillet until skillet is very hot and starting to smoke.
  • Sear chicken on both sides just until the skin is crisp and slightly golden (only a few minutes per side) Do not cook the chicken all the way through.
  • Remove chicken and let drain on paper towels.
  • Clean the skillet and melt butter over medium heat.
  • Add the other half of the fresh onion, green bell pepper, red bell pepper, and yellow bell pepper.
  • Cook until tender and then add remaining garlic and cook until garlic is fragrant.
  • Stir in chicken stock and ketchup.
  • Stir 1-2 tablespoons of browning.
  • Add in remaining fresh thyme leaves, fresh rosemary, other half of scotch bonnet pepper andother half of pimento (if using).
  • Simmer sauce for about 10-15 minutes, reduce heat if needed.
  • Add chicken to skillet.
  • Simmer for about 20 minutes covered and then uncover and simmer for an additional 15-20 minutes.
  • When chicken is done, taste the sauce and season with salt, garlic powder and a pinch of ginger.
  • If desired, you may thicken the sauce with cornstarch or breadcrumbs.



1.) I prefer legs and thighs for this recipe. Rinse the chicken in cool water and fresh lime juice. Then dry it off completely
2.) Before making the browning sauce, be sure your kitchen is WELL ventilated. It gets really smokey and if you have a  smoke detector, it will go off.
3.) Use a stainless steel or large cast iron skillet to brown the chicken in. Using a non-stick skillet will not create a crisp skin.
4.) If you prefer a thicker sauce, you can add cornstarch or breadcrumbs.