Are you looking for a cosy and comforting meal that breaks the monotony and tingles the tastebuds? I found the perfect dish in Belize and before I left I was determined to try it myself.
As I have eaten my way through all the food in Belize over the past two months, I have subsequently tried to make some of the dishes myself. One that I put off for a while was Stewed Chicken. I have such a love for this country and their food, I was scared to mess it up! But after talking to a lot of locals and learning all I could, I gave it a go.
It has a subtle warmth and deep, delicious flavour. The first time I had it was from a street seller and the meat just fell off the bone, it was so tender. You want to let it cook for quite a while and use chicken on the bone so it doesn't dry out.
The deep red colour of the gravy comes from red recado which is a spice paste made here in Belize and Central America. Its red colour comes from annato, which is made from the seeds of the Achiote tree native to the region.
I served my Belizean Stewed Chicken with some coconut rice cooked with a bit of dried thyme and the whole meal was just so comforting and warm, I can't wait to make it again. So here we are, my recipe for Belizean Stewed Chicken. Happy cooking!
4 chicken legs or a whole chicken, skin on and cut into pieces
2tbsp red recado
1 bell pepper
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
Coconut oil (or canola if you don't have any)
Mix the recado with a splash of white wine vinegar and oil and then rub all over the chicken.
Place in a zip lock bag with the sugar and spices and then pour in the soy and Worcestershire sauce. Seal the bag leaving no air in and pop in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, ideally a few hours or even overnight.
Remove from the fridge and fry the chicken in some coconut oil, reserving the rest of the marinade.
Once browned, remove from the pan briefly whilst frying the pepper and onion. As they begin to soften, return the chicken to the pan and pour over the rest of the marinade liquid. Finally, add some water, enough to just cover everything.
Leave to cook and reduce for at least an hour when the sauce will be nice and thick. When you have 30 minutes left to go, make the rice.
For the coconut rice
2 cups white rice
1 tsp dried thyme
2 cups coconut milk
2 cups water or chicken stock
1 tbsp chopped coriander stalk
Place everything except the coriander in a saucepan and bring to the boil before covering and reducing her heat to simmer for 25 minutes or until the rice is cooked, adding more water if necessary. Stir through the chopped coriander and season with salt to taste.
Now place some rice on a plate or shallow bowl with a piece of the chicken and some onions and peppers on top. Spoon over the sauce, add more chopped coriander and enjoy!
The result will be a warm, thick and aromatic stew with juicy vegetables and moist, flavoursome chicken. If you want to spice it up, add some Belizean Marie Sharps hot sauce!
If you fancy a cookalong, come and watch my YouTube video of me making Belizean Stewed Chicken here!