Jamaican Chicken Stew

Have you heard the news? It’s a hurricane out there. Sandy has arrived on the Eastern Seaboard with all the accompanying media frenzy, battery buying, and stocking up on water, wine and whiskey. A superwindy “Frankenstorm,” with gusts and floods and outages, has officially made landfall. You know what that means. Storm food and horror movies! We’re battening down the hatches and holing up with a big pot of something simmering on the stove. I thought that a popular Jamaican dish, known as “brown stew chicken,” was in order. I don’t have any particular affinity for Jamaica or its culture. But hurricane winds bring a decidedly tropical weather system to our Northern shores. Turn up the soundtrack to “The Harder They Come,” gather your lanterns and candles and loved ones and card games and make this super tasty stew while watching The Serpent And The Rainbow. Stay safe, East Coasters!

Jamaican Chicken Stew
Adapted from a recipe on Food.com


  • 1 small whole chicken, cut up
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Small bundle of chives, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 white onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 scotch bonnet pepper, seeds and ribs removed and chopped
  • 4 sprigs thyme, stripped
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • Rice, for serving


Marinate chicken in soy sauce, lime juice, allspice, and chives for an hour. In a large Dutch oven heat the canola oil over medium heat then add the chicken pieces to brown in a single layer. Remove the chicken to a plate and add tomato, onion, garlic, carrots, pepper, and thyme. Use a wooden spoon to scrape up the brown bits and saute the vegetables until tender. Add the chicken back to the pot. Whisk together corn starch and coconut milk and pour that into the pot. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, 20-30 minutes. Serve over rice with a squeeze of lime.

Tip: For serving, I found it slightly more elegant to shred the chicken from the bone.

Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road.


      1. Will do! I’m making a list of things I’ll be cooking when we finally have a stove again (sometime in December). This one will definitely be in there 🙂

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