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I posted about Belizean Stewed Chicken on Instagram, and one comment I received, from @trinidadfoodtours, is "stewed chicken is life!"
A bowl of stewed chicken, served along with some rice and beans and Belizean potato salad, is absolute comfort food at its best. I cannot imagine going through life without being able to enjoy this most humble of combination of foods. So delicious and the food that so many enjoy because of its affordability and also its simplicity.
Visit to Belize in 2013
One of my most memorable and favorite trips over the last few years was our vacation to Belize. I had never been to Belize before, and wasn't really sure what to expect. Whatever I had in mind, Belize blew away all my expectations. It was absolutely amazing!
One of the MOST Famous Belizean Foods - Stewed Chicken
I will write about the trip in another post, but for now want to concentrate on sharing with you a delicious recipe for stewed chicken, one of Belize's most famous and favorite foods!
The Belizean stewed chicken is so so good. We were served it for dinner when we stayed at a small rustic hotel in Belize City called the Orchid Garden Eco-Village. I remember this dinner as one of my favorite dining experiences in Belize. We had just arrived at the hotel and it was pouring with rain! I think we were only one of two couples staying at the hotel, and the staff actually brought the meal to our room that evening. The meal included stewed chicken, rice and beans, and a couple other items which for the life of me I just cannot remember what they were but I know everything was delicious!
I made some Belizean stewed chicken the other night, and it was fabulous. The taste brought back so many memories of Belize and I'm happy to say I have so much left over to dine on and enjoy over the next couple of days!
I'm super excited to share this recipe with you, so that you can enjoy Belizean stewed chicken as well! This is a flavorful dish which is also budget friendly, and one that your whole family will enjoy!
What is Recado Rojo?
Let me introduce you to recado rojo, if you are not familiar with this ingredient. The recado gives this dish its signature reddish color.
Recado rojo (or an acceptable substitution) is an essential ingredient in Belizean stewed chicken. It is also known as achiote paste. It is a mix of spices made into a paste, and is used widely in Belizean and Mexican cuisines.
The spices in recado rojo generally include oregano, cumin, garlic, annatto, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon and clove. The paste is usually dissolved in a little water, oil, or vinegar, and then rubbed onto your meat of choice before grilling or frying. It can also be added to stews, and in this recipe I both use it as a marinade and add additional recado to the stew.
Substitutes for Recado Rojo
Belizean Recado can be difficult to come by, so I want to mention the following as great subs for this ingredient.
An awesome option to use in this recipe is Marie Sharp's Belizean Season All, which you can find on Amazon. Full disclaimer....I used a recado rojo that I purchased in Belize, but once I run out I am going to use Marie Sharp's Belizean Season All! I am pretty much sold on this after reading the reviews and can't wait to try it as a seasoning on all meats!
You can also make your own substitute by using this recipe I found from Rachel Ray: Easy Substitute for Achiote Paste in Recipes.
You may also try Achiote Rojo, which is an acceptable substitute for the red recado. The picture of the El Mexicano Achiote Rojo is what I found in the Latin foods section of my local grocery store. You can also purchase this on Amazon or other brands of achiote paste there as well. I have also used this and love it!
Now, on to the other ingredients you will need for this dish!
The ingredients you will need for this recipe include:
- Whole cut up chicken (you can use other chicken bone in chicken pieces if you prefer)
- Olive Oil
- Goya Sazonador Total (can sub salt and pepper if you can't obtain this ingredient)
- Maggi Chicken Bouillon seasoning (can sub another brand if you prefer)
- Thyme (fresh is preferred)
- Belize Recado rojo, Achiote Rojo, or Marie Sharp's Belizean Season All
- Chicken broth (recommend to use unsalted)
- Brown sugar
- Green bell pepper
- Salt to taste
- Pepper to taste
So gather these ingredients and let's make some tremendously tasty Belizean Stewed Chicken!!
Stewed Chicken Instructions
All you will need to do to get this delicious taste of Belize, is to begin by marinating the chicken with a combination of delicious spices. The marinade ingredients include the Recado rojo (or sub), garlic, thyme, Goya Sazonador Total, and the Maggi Chicken Bouillon.
You'll want the chicken to marinate preferably overnight, but at least for one hr in your refrigerator.
After marinating, remove the chicken from the refrigerator. You can let it sit for a few minutes on the counter to allow it to come to room temperature if you wish.
Next, fry the chicken in olive oil and a bit of brown sugar until golden brown. You most likely will need to fry in batches. Scrape up any burnt or brown bits between batches and remove.
Add chicken broth to cover the chicken, along with some diced green bell pepper, diced onions, and some extra recado, and simmer covered for around 45 minutes to 1 hr. You can remove the cover for the last 15 minutes if you like to reduce some of the sauce.
Enjoy the wonderful aromas coming from your kitchen during simmering time!
During simmering the flavors will meld together to make the most delicious chicken which should be falling off the bone by the end of the simmering time!
Add some cilantro in at the end, and your DELISH stewed chicken is now ready to serve!
What To Serve With This Stewed Chicken Dish
I hope by now you may be excited at the prospect of cooking up some Belizean Stewed Chicken in your kitchen. Please give it a try! You might find that this will be a go to recipe for your family from now on because of all the yumminess!
I truly hope you will make this dish and please let me know what you think by commenting below.
Other Belizean Dishes You May Enjoy!
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Belizean Stewed Chicken
- 1 large pot
- 1 Skillet
- 4-5 lb chicken cut into pieces
- 10 cloves garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon Maggi chicken bouillon seasoning or other chicken bouillon seasoning of your choice
- 1 ts thyme use fresh thyme if you can
- 1 onion diced
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 2 tablespoon Sazonador Total by Goya can sub salt and pepper if you don't have this ingredient
- 7 tablespoon olive oil 4 tablespoon for the marinade plus 3 tablespoon for frying the chicken
- 1 ts brown sugar
- 3 tablespoon red recado 1 tablespoon added when stewing, plus 2 tablespoon additional for marinade; can sub Achiote Rojo
- 1 quart chicken broth you may not use all of this broth, use only enough to cover the chicken in the pot and recommend to use unsalted
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 small cilantro bunch chopped (add at the end of cooking time)
- Mix the garlic, chicken bouillon, thyme, sazonador total, 4 tablespoon of olive oil, and 2 tablespoon of the recado rojo in a small bowl to make the marinade. Season the chicken all over with this marinade, and leave in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or preferably overnight.
- Heat 3 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan (cast iron if possible) and mix in the brown sugar, med high heat. When very hot, fry all the chicken on all sides until golden brown. You will most likely need to fry in batches. After frying the first batch, scrape up any browned or burned bits before adding another batch. Keep repeating until all the chicken has been browned.
- Move the chicken to a stockpot or large saucepan or stockpot, and add just enough chicken broth to cover the chicken. If you don't have enough chicken broth, use additional water. You want the chicken just covered with liquid. Add the diced green pepper and diced onion, along with an additional 1 tablespoon of the recado and mix well. Bring to the boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for around 45 minutes to 1 hr. You can remove the cover for the last 15 minutes if you like to reduce some of the sauce.
- Add salt and pepper to taste, and then stir in your bunch of cilantro. If you like add additional sazonador total to taste.