Jamaican fricassee chicken is a stew very similar to brown stew chicken. The chicken is seasoned with simple ingredients then browned and stewed down until the chicken is tender. My mom made this a lot growing up as she preferred it over brown stew chicken. While it is delicious right after it’s done cooking, it’s even better the next day. I made this recipe gluten free, but it can also be made Whole30 and Paleo.
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What is the difference between Jamaican fricassee chicken and brown stew chicken?
While they have very similar ingredients, they have a different taste. The first difference is that with fricassee chicken, it’s seasoned with just powdered seasonings in the marinade where brown stew usually has a liquid like browning added to the marinade. Browning is used in fricassee chicken but during the cooking process. With brown stew, browning is added as part of the marinade, so the chicken has a darker color. The next difference is that with brown stew chicken, the chicken and marinade is usually added to the pot at the same time where in fricassee chicken you brown the chicken first then add the marinade back in.
Why wait to add marinade in?
In this recipe, you have to sear the chicken. If the marinade is left on it could burn or release liquid preventing the chicken from browning. To get best results, it’s important to wipe off the marinade before browning. After browning the chicken, you can add the marinade back in as well as any additional seasonings. Do not worry about getting the powdered seasoning off but focus on the onion and fresh garlic, if used.
Things to know about making this recipe:
- When adding in browning or coconut aminos, add it to the pot and not the chicken. This will help brown the sauce and not the chicken.
- I used carrot ketchup (affiliate link), but you can use tomato ketchup to keep it more authentic. Adding ketchup will help to thicken the sauce.
- It’s important to wipe off all the marinade before browning so they don’t get burned when searing the chicken.
- Add in pimento at the beginning if the stew process. If added in the marinade it can be hard to see and remove before searing.
- It’s not necessary to add bell pepper in. If you like them, you can add them in the last 10 minutes of cooking.
- My mom never added garlic to the marinade but if you want to, I suggest 2 tsp garlic powder, or 4 cloves chopped.
- I used All Seasoning all-purpose, jerk and pollo seasoning.
- Jerk seasoning is totally optional but adds a nice flavor to the dish.
- Serve with cauliflower rice to keep Whole30. You can also serve it with white rice or rice and peas.
- You can use gluten free tamari instead of browning or coconut aminos. It will not be Whole30 or Paleo but will be gluten free.
Jamaican Fricassee Chicken
- Large mixing bowl
- Large skillet
- Wooden spoon
- 5 pounds Whole chicken including neck and back, cut up for stew or 5 pounds of your favorite part of the chicken
- 2 TBSP All-purpose seasoning
- 1 TBSP Jerk seasoning
- 1 TBSP Poultry seasoning
- 2 tsp garlic powder optional
- ½ Onion sliced
- 3 tsp Dried thyme or 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 1-2 TBSP Olive oil
- ½ to 1 tsp Browning see notes for substitutions
- 1 TBSP Pimento
- 1 TBSP Ketchup
- Add prepped chicken pieces to a large bowl and pat dry.
- Add all-purpose, poultry and jerk seasonings, dried thyme and garlic powder (If you choose) and mix.
- Let chicken marinate for 15-30 minutes countertop or up to 24 hours in the fridge. If marinating in the fridge, be sure its covered or placed in a Ziplock bag. Also, remove from the fridge 30 minutes before cooking.
- Wipe off as much of the marinade from the chicken that you can.
- Heat oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Once heated, add olive oil.
- Sear chicken on each side over medium heat, working in batches until golden brown (about 5 minutes a side).
- Once all the chicken is cooked, wipe out the oil if there are burned bits. If you do wipe out the oil from the skillet, add an additional TBSP oil.
- Add back all the chicken, the juice from the bottom of the bowl it's been resting in plus the marinade, pimento and browning and stir.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and cover the skillet.
- Cook for 20-25 minutes, checking and stirring every 5-10 minutes.
- If you notice after 10 minutes no liquid is being released or it is evaporating too quickly, add little bits of water at a time. Do not submerge the chicken, only go about 1/2 the way up.
- The last 5 minutes of cooking add in the ketchup and stir.
- After 5 minutes, check for doneness and serve when ready.