Levi Roots' brown stew chicken

It might be cold and miserable outside, but Levi Roots is here to warm up our Friday with a taste of the Caribbean. He’s got everything we need to spice up the weekend, as he cooks the Caribbean favourite brown stew chicken.

Brown stew chicken

Serves: 8

Ingredients

16 pieces of chicken (leg, thigh), skinned, bone in 

Juice of 1 lemon

½ tsp salt

2 tbsp all-purpose seasoning

½ tsp coarse ground black pepper

2 tsp chicken seasoning or all purpose seasoning

Few sprigs of thyme

400ml/14fl oz vegetable oil

3 spring onions, chopped

2 onions, chopped

1 Scotch bonnet chilli, deseeded and chopped

1 garlic clove, chopped

½ red pepper, deseeded and chopped

½ green pepper, deseeded and chopped

2-3 Allspice berries (optional)

Knob of butter

Serve with rice (recipe below)

Method

1. Rub the chicken all over with the lemon juice to remove traces of the skin. Put the chicken in a non-metallic dish and sprinkle over with salt, the all purpose seasoning, black pepper, chicken seasoning and thyme.

2. Using your hands, rub the seasonings in to give the meat a good flavour and leave in the refrigerator for 30 minutes or overnight if you have time. (Be sure to wash your hands really well after touching raw chicken and meat)

3. Heat the oil in a duchy or large deep flameproof casserole until really hot

4. Remove the chicken from the seasoning, reserving the seasoning mix for later. Add 6-8 pieces of chicken and fry gently for about 5 minutes on each side until the chicken is browned. Remove the chicken from the pot and carefully scoop out most of the oil, leaving just a small amount in the bottom.

5. Return the chicken to the pot, tip in the reserved seasoning mixture, the spring onions, onions, chilli, garlic, peppers and the allspice berries (if using)

6. Pour in 450ml/16fl oz water, add the butter, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the liquid is reduced to a nice gravy

6. Serve with the rice (see recipe below)

Rice and peas

Serves: 4

Ingredients

175g/6oz dried red kidney beans 

400ml coconut milk (OR 1 whole coconut or 200g/7oz block creamed coconut, grated)

3-4 tsp salt

Knob of butter

1 whole Scotch bonnet chilli 

1 spring onion, green end only, chopped

1 fresh thyme sprig

1 garlic clove

1 tsp all-purpose seasoning

Allspice berries (optional) 

500g/1lb 2oz pure basmati rice

Method

1. Rinse the beans in cold water, then put them in a large bowl and cover with 1 litre/1 ¾ pints cold water. Leave to soak overnight. 

2. Don’t throw the soaking water away! Drain the soaking water into a large pan and bring it to the boil.

3. Meanwhile, rinse the beans under cold running water and throw any damaged ones away. Add the beans to the boiling water, bring back to the boil, cover and boil vigorously for 10 minutes (you have to do this to get rid of the poisonous toxins). Reduce the heat and simmer for a further 35 minutes until the beans are really soft. To test, squeeze them.

4. Add the coconut milk, salt, butter, chilli, spring onion, thyme, garlic, all-purpose seasoning and the allspice berries (if using) to the pan of beans and boil for 15-20 minutes.

5. Alternatively, If using fresh coconut, smash the coconut on the floor (mind your toes), crack open and drain off the coconut liquid, reserving the liquid. Remove the ‘meat’ from the shell carefully with a sharp knife and grate into a bowl. Add the reserved coconut liquid, then pour in 1 litre/1 ¾ pints hot water and stir well. If you are using the creamed coconut, mix with 2 litres/3 ½ pints hot water.

6. Now, rinse the rice twice under cold running water, drain, then add to the pan. Make sure the liquid is 2.5/1 inch above the level of the rice. Cover and cook for 20-25 minutes on a really gentle heat until all the water is absorbed and the rice is tender. DO NOT LIFT THE LID during cooking because you’ll release all the moisture. When the rice is cooked, put cling film or foil over the top to seal and cover.