This week we are hosting a guest post by Jovanna, a friend from Trinidad who was kind enough to teach us her mama’s potato and chicken stew!

By Jovanna

Stewed chicken and potato was the first real Caribbean dish my mother taught me to cook. This dish was a staple in my childhood growing up in Trinidad and while the recipe may sound a bit time consuming, it was one of the simpler go-to recipes to prepare for lunch or dinner. As I began travelling and meeting persons from different places and cultures and enjoying their food, I began to recognize that in the Caribbean we had our own special idiosyncrasies when it comes to preparing food. The herb seasoning, I describe in the method below is absolutely quintessential when preparing any type of meat in my home country. I would often help my mother prepare large batches of this herb seasoning on the weekends and store it in the fridge for future use.

The smell of culantro is sharp, unmistakable and adds a flavor of authenticity to any dish from Trinidad and Tobago. Coming to Thailand, another tropical country halfway across the world, and finding culantro is a lovely surprise and allows me to cook meals which taste almost exactly like what I make back home. The trickiest part to this recipe is caramelizing the sugar. It’s a technique that takes practice, close attention and a sense of timing. In the beginning, I messed up this step numerous times, but as long as you recognize your mistake and reserve from adding your chicken, it takes little effort to start over. I hope you enjoy making this dish and let me know how this recipe turns out for you!

Ingredients

  • 1 lime
  • 1 lbs of chicken parts
  • 2 tbsp of cooking oik
  • 3 tbsp of brown sugar
  • 2 cups of potate (large cubes)
  • salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 2 chicken bouilon cube
  • 1/2 tomatoes (diced)
  • 1 cup carrots (diced)
  • 1/2 cup onion (diced)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (grated)
  • 2 tbsp of ketchup
  • 1/4 cup of bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp of chives (finelly chopped)

Herb Seasoning for Chicken

  • 2 cups of chives/green onions (roughly cut)
  • 1 cup celery (roughly cut)
  • 1 cup of culantro (roughly cut). You can substitute it with cilantro.
  • 10 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 tbsp of salt
  • 1 whole chilli
  • 1/2 cup of water

Method for preparing the herb seasoning

  1. Wash and roughly chop the chives, celery and culantro into large chunks.
  2. Add about half of the green seasoning into a blender, along with the peeled cloves of garlic, salt and water into the blender and blend until it becomes a chunky puree.
  3. Add the rest of the herb seasoning and blend until there is an even consistency.
  4. Reserve about 4 tbsp. of the seasoning for the chicken and store the rest of the seasoning in the fridge in a sealed container for up to 4 weeks. The colour will darken over time. Optionally the seasoning can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Method for preparing chicken

  1. Wash the chicken parts with lime juice to remove slime and cut the odour. Chicken parts can be cut into smaller pieces to reduce the cooking time.
  2. Rinse the chicken with water before placing into a bowl to season the pieces. Add the 4 tbsp of green seasoning, salt, black pepper and soy sauce to the chicken and use your hands to evenly coat the chicken with the seasonings.
  3. Cover the bowl with a cover/plastic wrap and place in the fridge to marinate for at least 1 hour.

Method for cooking the stewed chicken

  1. Heat the oil and brown sugar together in a nonstick pot on high heat. Pay close attention to the mixture as the sugar dissolves.
  2. Constantly stir the caramelizing sugar until it bubbles and turns golden brown in colour before added all of the chicken (excluding any liquids) into the mixture and quickly covering the pot. If the sugar becomes too dark or burnt, do not add the chicken. Remove the mixture and start again.
  3. After waiting a minute, uncover the pot and turn the chicken to ensure that all the pieces are evenly covered in the caramelized sugar. Add any excess liquids from the seasoned chicken mixture into the pot and cover the chicken and place on medium heat until the liquids reduce.
  4. Uncover the chicken and check to see if the liquid had reduced in 7-10 minutes. Then add the potato, carrots, onions, garlic, tomatoes, ketchup and bouillon cube stir the chicken to incorporate all the ingredients. Let the ingredients sauté for 5-7 mins.
  5. Add 4 cups of boiling water or until the chicken has been covered and leave to boil on high heat for 35-40 mins.
  6. Once the water has reduced to about ½ in quantity, taste the gravy for salt.
  7. Switch off the heat and sprinkle finely chopped chives on top of the chicken.

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