The main reason I wanted to start this blog, is to share with you my passion for cooking and savoring ethnic foods during my travels around the world. I have visited many places, including various islands in the Caribbean, the US Virgin Islands, Mexico, Costa Rica, many countries in Europe, Turkey and the USA where I now live with my beautiful family. I’ve been inspired by a variety of cuisines, and fascinated the way food plays a major role in the different cultures. I haven’t had the chance to visit beautiful Trinidad, a nation consisting primarily of two Caribbean islands just off the northeastern coast of Venezuela. However, I’m very fortunate to have some wonderful friends from that country. It is known for its rich cuisine and famous for its colorful and festive Carnival. My dear friend Shamin is from there and she loves entertaining. She occasionally serves this delicious Stewed Chicken, which is always a big hit at her gatherings. I’ ve asked her for the recipe for this traditional dish, and she was gracious to provide me with the list of ingredients and the method of cooking. I’ve made it on several occasions for my family and everyone loves it. This dish may take a little practice but once you get the hang of it, it can become part of your meal rotations. I took the time to measure all the ingredients and kitchen-test them. I would love to share this very special recipe with you today.
Degree of difficulty: Easy – Medium
This recipe will take a minimum of an hour not counting the time for marinating.
- 3 lbs chicken thighs, skinless, bone-in
- 1 and 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped *
- 1 head of garlic
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tsp. thyme
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 3 + 2 tbsp. olive oil (5 total)
- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. ketchup
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
1) In a large bowl, season the chicken with salt and pepper and set aside. In a food processor, add the cilantro, garlic, thyme, soy sauce, 3 tbsp olive oil, vinegar ( salt and pepper, optional) Pulse but do not liquefy, you should see bits and pieces of the ingredients. Pour over the chicken and add chopped onions. Give it a good stir and marinate in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours. If you have the time, I recommend marinating it overnight to infuse all the flavors.
2) On medium heat, In a large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. olive oil, add the sugar and spread it around. As soon as it starts to bubble, lower the heat and stir in the ketchup, be careful, it will splatter a little. (This will be a quick process, if you wait too long, the sugar will get dark and the results will be unpleasant.
3) Drain the chicken well and place them in a single layer on the pan, raise the heat to medium high and let them brown for about 3 minutes on one side, until they have a nice golden color. Turn them and brown other side for another 2-3 minutes.
4) Pour the marinade over the chicken, bring to a quick boil, reduce the heat to LOW, cover and simmer for a minimum of 30 minutes. You can check it halfway through, the sauce should be simmering nicely. When the time is up, check and make sure chicken is thoroughly COOKED, if not, allow an extra 5- 10 minutes. Serve over white or brown rice.
My grown son Peter-John is usually my taste tester, and his reaction was, “Oh my goodness! screaming from the top of his lungs,” this sauce is so good!” This happened to be the best one I ever made because I marinated it overnight.
*Traditionally, Culantro is used in this dish, but since Cilantro is more readily available, it makes for a nice substitution. It is fun to have a variety of dishes in your repertoire, and interesting to savor international cuisines from all parts of the world. I hope you will get creative and try this exotic and delicious dish. Wishing you Bon Appetit from Gina’s Kitchen.