We’re two weeks in to the school year and just starting to hit our stride. Kay still has days where she isn’t sure if this preschool thing is for her, but Tee is in love with kindergarten and her new school. She’s learning so much, trading lunches with her new friends, and already fielding birthday party invitations. Every time I pick her up from school she can’t wait to regale me with stories about all the things she’s done that day.
Last week she came home bursting with excitement about how she helped harvest grape tomatoes and snap peas from the school garden. I love that she’s learning more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Her Montessori curriculum includes a focus on learning self-sufficiency, building community, and earth stewardship as well – stuff every kid needs!
With the school year getting under full steam and the weather starting to cool, I’m turning my attention to warm, comfort food like this. This recipe is my creamy version of Trinidadian stewed chicken. It’s browned in caramelized sugar and oil like traditional Trini stewed chicken, but I’ve replaced the usual water with coconut milk, because everything tastes better with coconut milk. This is one of my favourite rice bowl meals.
I use a whole Costco family pack of bone in chicken thighs for this one. I leave the skin on, but you can take it off if you prefer. Toss the chicken in one of those big metal mixing bowls with plenty of green onion, sweet onion, cilantro, garlic, ginger, and thyme and set it aside for a bit to marinate.
The browning is the trickiest part. Melt brown sugar in coconut oil over medium low heat, stirring constantly. Watch it closely to keep it from burning and turning bitter. Once the sugar is melted and bubbling, I use a long pair of tongs to fry the chicken. Be careful of spitting oil. I do batches of six or seven pieces at a time, flipping them to get both sides nice and brown.
Then the coconut milk, tomato paste, chili flakes, and chicken go in the pot with everything else to stew. I serve this on a bed of rice or cauliflower rice with the sweet, creamy gravy spooned over everything. Mmm. So warm and comforting for those wet, cool fall evenings.
- 4 pounds chicken parts, skin on
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onions
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped sweet onion
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- Place chicken in a large mixing bowl and toss with green onion, cilantro, onion, garlic, ginger, thyme, salt, and pepper. Allow to marinate in seasonings for 30 minutes to 4 hours.
- Heat coconut oil in a large stewing pot over medium until shimmering.
- Add brown sugar and stir constantly until the sugar melts into a bubbling syrup. Watch carefully to make sure it doesn't burn.
- Quick fry the chicken pieces in batches in the caramelized syrup until browned on both sides, about a minute per side. Remove chicken pieces from pot.
- Add coconut milk, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste to the pot and mix with the leftover caramelized sugar.
- Add the chicken back into the pot and throw in any leftover chopped onion and seasonings from the marinating bowl too.
- Stew on medium low for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is fully cooked.
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