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I don’t know about you, but I’ve definitely been in the mood for comfort food recently. And what’s more comforting than Bahamian stewed chicken?
In case you, too, could use some warmth and comfort right about now, here’s the recipe. Hope you enjoy it!
BAHAMIAN STEWED CHICKEN
- 10-12 pieces (leg or thigh) chicken, washed in water and lime juice and patted dry
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- ¼ c. bacon or salt pork drippings
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 tsp. thyme
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into 2” pieces
- 2-3 sweet potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2-3 potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 6 cups water
Mix ½ cup flour with 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper and ½ tsp thyme in a large Ziploc bag. Put pieces of washed, dried chicken in the bag, zip shut and shake to coat. (Depending on the size of your Ziploc bag or chicken pieces, you may have to do this in batches.) Set aside.
Fry enough bacon/salt pork to create about ¼ cup drippings. Using a slotted spoon, remove bacon/salt pork to cool. (You can also use ¼ cup of cooking oil instead, but the bacon or salt pork adds a nice flavour.)
Brown floured chicken pieces in the drippings over medium-high heat until golden brown. Remove and set aside.
For the next step, you’ll need about ¼ cup of oil. If there’s not enough in the pot after frying the bacon and chicken, add a bit of cooking oil.
Stir ½ cup of flour into the oil until smooth.
Cook this mixture at medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula, until it bubbles and browns. This step, known as browning the flour, takes time. The most important thing is to keep stirring, and monitor the heat carefully to make sure the mixture doesn’t burn.
When the mixture is dark brown, it’s done.
Add onion, garlic, tomato paste, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for a few minutes, until onion and garlic have softened. Again, watch the heat so the tomato paste doesn’t burn.
When onion and garlic are soft, slowly add 6 cups of water, stirring or whisking to prevent lumps. Simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the liquid starts to thicken.
(TIP: Recently, a Bahamian cook told me that her secret to a thick, flavourful Bahamian stew was to add a few drops of Kitchen Bouquet. I didn’t have any for this batch, but will try it next time.)
Add carrots, potato, sweet potato, cooked bacon/salt pork and chicken. Stir to combine and coat all ingredients. (If you’re making dough boys, gently rest them on top of the stew.)
Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until chicken and vegetables are cooked. (Dough boys can be removed after about 20 minutes of cooking.)
Taste and adjust salt, pepper and thyme as needed. If you like more spice, add bird pepper, goat pepper, or red pepper flakes to taste.
If stew is too thick, add a little warm water. If it’s too thin, dissolve a teaspoon of flour into ¼ cup water and stir into the stew. Let cook a few minutes longer.
Serve with grits, rice, dough boys, johnny cake or fresh, crusty bread.
See also: Bahamian Stewed Conch and Dough Boys.
One thought on “From My Grandmother’s Kitchen: Bahamian Stewed Chicken”
Oh, SO GOOD. Raised in a family of nine, Mama Fanny specialized in one-pot-cooked meals. My favorite memory, stewed whelks with vegetables and a ‘dough’ on top. Next came stewed chicken – one Papa Clarie butchered from our yard. Yum! Island tradition had stewed fresh fish for Saturday noon meal.