Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Stewed Chicken - and a new name!

From barely audible Mayan, to stewed chicken.
Now, an interesting story about the chicken while I was cooking it. My sweet landlady passed by the open doorway of my apartment. It was hot as a MOFO, and I had to have some ventilation.

Anyway, she passed by and said, "That smells good!"
I couldn't resist and came out and said, "Thanks!"
"Whatcha got cooking there?" she asked.
"Stewed chicken," I replied.
"What all do you put in there?" she asked.
"Oh...ummm...well...Season All, Complete Season, a bit of chili powder, black pepper...onion, garlic..." I hemmed and hawed..."'s not like I have a recipe!"
She smiled and said, "So, a little bit of this a li'l bit o' that?"
I nodded. Then I went inside and grabbed my stuff that I used.

She stood there while we chatted, and I explained to her that I was cooking two and a half chickens. She wondered why, and I explained it was my donation to the Lions Club, as they were having a fundraiser for the community's beloved Reds. I usually donate a couple stewed chickens for the Lions when they have their functions. I can't donate my time because I am useless - unless I am eating or drinking, or sleeping.
I know, I am a bad person.
I am working on perhaps dedicating a couple hours a week to some charity.
Not the beer fund. Not my gut. I'll keep you posted on that.

So, back to the stewed chicken:
She thought it was all about seasoning the chicken, and putting it in a pan, covering it with water and letting it simmer for hours till the meat fell off the bone.
Isn't that soup?
I thought that maybe I had it all wrong and had the name of my chicken wrong, so, I renamed my pot of chickens "Gravy Chicken!"

Here's what I did: (Click for larger view - coz Blogger sucks...)
After seasoning the chicken and having other ingredients on hand and ready to go, I put a tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan, and heated that up real nice. Then, I added the onion, garlic and bell pepper chunks and sauteed them real nice. The smell? Oh. The smell! Gorgeous!
Once the veggies had sauteed for a while, with the onion caramelizing a bit, it was time to throw in the chicken! :) mmm...
So, this chicken, SIZZLED when it hit the pan. It looks quite crowded in there. That's fine. It means that when covered, it will steam real nice and slow, and create its own gravy. Lemme tell you, when that gravy simmers down, oh...heaven! (I'm twitching here!!)
I want to sing a song to this chicken, I love it so much!

So, after crooning a few love songs to the chicken, cover it and let it steam away, sizzling and smelling all divine and stuff. Give it about 20 minutes, stirring and shifting the meat every so often, making sure it's not sticking too much! If you worry that it's sticking, well, then, lower the flame to low. This particular chicken vacillated between medium flame and low flame.
While that sucker cooks away in its own juices, it's time to break out the recado! This block is quite large, but remember, I was cooking more than one chicken at the time! In this case, (1 3lb-chicken) a good, 1-inch block is excellent for a deep colored gravy.

I added some water to the bowl that held the seasoned chicken. There was some leftover spices at the bottom, and adding water to it, means I get to use every bit of those spices! Break apart the recado, making it melt into that liquid. The best way I found to do this was to use my thumb, index and middle fingers and sort of mush it around in the water, rubbing until it dissolved thoroughly. The liquid turns a gorgeous red hue. exciting! (See pic below, top right corner!)
By this time, the chicken is sizzling away in the pan. It's juices will have dried up somewhat. If the pan still looks like it's got quite some liquid, don't add too much recado-water. Wait till the liquid in the pan has evaporated slightly, which means you might have to take the lid off the pan. Oh darn, you gotta smell that divine goodness! Then, add that recado-water and cover up the pan once more, and let that sucker do its magic!
See this? I am sure love songs have been written in ode to this meal! MMM...

About 20 more minutes of simmering away, and that chicken is good to go. Yes, I cooked the dark meat, skin on. It's fine, just strip the skin off when you're serving it. No problem! AND...just for added naughtiness, I put in a little bit of coconut milk in the stew. Just because. Yea. So the Belizean food police will arrest me. So what. It was GOOD!!

OH...almost must be accompanied by fried know, for extra cholesterol and calories! :)
This is how this meal is typically served! nom nom nom nom
Rice and beans, stewed chicken, fried plantains, potato salad and Coca Cola (tee hee...). I threw in a bit of avocado and tomato salad for the heck of it. Coz, that's how I roll!
Then, I added this on the side, for the not so wimpy! :) This Habanero Sauce recipe I shall upload next! :)


  1. Oh my, I'd like to come there and eat some of your gravy chicken! It looks soooo good.

  2. i am crying because i miss it and you so much

  3. oh Court - in due time sweetie! In due time! Don't cry...just wait till you taste the peppers. Then you can cry!
    Rebel - It would be fun to serve you this chicken. I LOVE to cook for others. Definitely! You should try it sometime. It can be adapted to your favorite parts. Definitely for bone-in chicken. I didn't specify that, but I definitely recommend bone-in chicken. Yum...

  4. I brought recado back from Caye Caulker. It was in powder form. This is almost the same way I make mine. I only have enough for 1 more batch of stewed chicken. After reading this I think I'm gonna make it for dinner. YUMMY.

  5. mmm...I just made that for dinner last night, and then, I had leftovers for lunch this morning with some r&b n potato salad. was good. Very good. gained many pounds I am sure! :)