Everybody in this house agrees that stews are fabulous food, but we have very different ideas of what makes a stew. I love beans and lentils, the kids want potatoes, carrots and stuff, and John is not convinced that either “peas” or root veggies are the bees knees. The kids don’t want meat on the bone, whereas John and I prefer it that way. I’m telling you, Scandiribbean fusion food can be a very tricky cuisine to master to everyone’s liking.
Yesterday, I made a version of stew chicken that combined Swedish style with West Indian taste. The good thing about this one is that everybody gets something they like. As usual, I cooked for a battalion and without any real measurements, but here’s a rough guide:
- 4 onions
- 4-6 cloves of garlic
- 4 carrots
- 4 baking potatoes, or 8 “normal” ones
- 1 swede (the vegetable!)
- 4 turnips
- tomato puree
- 12 tomatoes (or 2 tins of tomatoes)
- 1 scotch bonnet (or other chillies or pepper sauce)
- fresh ginger
- bay leaves
- lemon juice
- soy sauce
- maggi sauce
- 1 pint of guinness
- 1,5 litre chicken stock
- salt & black pepper to taste
- olive oil
- molasses or brown sugar
- raw chicken on the bone cut in small pieces
- meat of a cooked boiler hen (optional)
- Season the raw chicken in a mix of soy sauce, maggi seasoning, lemon juice and salt/pepper/chilli for a day (shorter if you must)
- Chop the oinions and the garlic
- Peel the ginger and cut in a couple of big bits (so it’s easy to spot them and take them out later)
- Peel and chop all veggies into large cubes
- Heat up olive oil and molasses or brown sugar and stir until the sugar has melted.
- Add the chicken and stir vigorously until it has a nice brown colour
- In a Dutch put or slow cooker or big stew pot, heat up olive oil and add onions, garlic and scotch bonnet (or pepper sauce). Go gentle on the chilli – this dish is not meant to be hot it should just have a gentle warmth to it.
- When the onion is soft, add all the vegetables, the ginger, chicken stock, guinness, tomatoes and tomato puree and bring to the boil.
- Turn the heat down until you have a nice simmer, and add the chicken bits.
- Allow to simmer for about 40 minutes (if it looks to “watery” take the lid off and allow it to reduce for another 20 while you cook the rice)
- To please people who are scared of meat on the bone, you can now either add precooked meat to the stew, or fish some of the stew (without the bone chicken bits) out to another pot together with the boneless chicken.
- Check the taste and add salt/pepper/chilli/lemon juice/chicken stock/tomato puree/guinness or whatever you feel you’d like some more of. Ideally, the taste should be slightly different each time you make a stew. Chopped cilantro and /0r a few sprigs of thyme is nice.
Serve with rice, rice & peas, some fresh bread, with a salad or eat just as it is. Any way that works for you is good! =)
You can put the stew in the freezer and save it for a rainy day, or one of those when you don’t feel like cooking but still want a nice home cooked meal.