Belizean stew chicken with rice and beans

Belizean stew chicken with rice and beans

Belizean stew chicken with rice & beans

Pristine warm turquoise waters, white powdery sand and the world’s second largest coral reef – the small country of Belize is a bit of a paradise. Let’s not forget the lush and tropical Central American jungle full of wildlife, dotted with ancient Mayan ruins.

Food-wise, it’s a mix-up of African, Caribbean, Mayan, Mexican and Spanish. So that means loads of seafood, slow-cooked meats and poultry, tubers, grains and tropical fruits.

Belizean stew chicken

Stew chicken is up there as being one of the more common dishes – generally served at lunch or dinner. I absolutely love it, though it does vary no matter where you are in the country.

On our first trip to Belize back in 2002, I remember looking around a small grocery store on Caye Caulker. Exploring local grocers whist travelling is fascinating – a perfect way to get a sense of what the cuisine is like and a great way to discover new ingredients.

Belizean rice and beans with stew chicken

I spotted small plastic pouches filled with something called recado – a firm ball of deep red paste I knew nothing about, back then. I now know it’s an achiote-based spice paste that’s used quite a bit in this part of the world – something that’s very much like the achiote paste I now make and use at home.

Something else I spotted was the vaguely-named “season all” – a spice powder that contains who-knows-what as they never really list the ingredients.

Both these ingredients – recado and season all – are prominent players in stew chicken. I’ve developed my own recipe of this Belizean staple, using achiote in place of recado, and chicken bouillon and other spices instead of season all.

Belizean stew chicken with rice & beans

Another thing I tossed in there was a small tin of salsa taquera – a spicy salsa made with tomatillos and red morita peppers. It’s a Mexican product that I found at Panetta Mercado in Marrickville Metro, in Sydney, but I’m sure you could get it in any grocer that specialises in Latino ingredients.

Serving stew chicken without rice and beans would be a crime, so I’ve knocked together a pot of it, as well. I didn’t go as far as making the traditional potato or cabbage salad that’s also served with it, but fried plantains did make the plate. Love those things!

 


Read about my latest trip to Caye Caulker here!


 

Recipe adapted from here

Rice and beans adapted from “Home Cooking in the Global Village”

Belizean stew chicken with rice & beans

 

Print Recipe
Belizean stew chicken with rice and beans
This is comfort food at its best. Belizean stew chicken with rice and beans. All you need is cold beers to have with it!
Belizean stew chicken with rice & beans
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Belizian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Rice and beans
Course Main Dish
Cuisine Belizian
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Rice and beans
Belizean stew chicken with rice & beans
Instructions
Stew chicken
  1. Place the chicken pieces into a bowl and pour over the lime juice. Dissolve the achiote in the 60 ml of water, pour over the chicken, add the garlic, salt and pepper and toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  2. The following day, take the chicken out of the fridge and dust each piece with the flour, reserving the marinade.
  3. Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat and pour in the oil. Brown the chicken on both sides in the oil, a few pieces at a time, then set the chicken aside. It the pan you've just used, toss in the chopped onion, capsicum and chopped coriander roots. Stir it around frequently for 5 minutes, scraping off any browned bits on the bottom of the pan from the chicken.
  4. Stir through the cumin and bay leaf. Return the browned chicken to the saucepan, add the salsa, 700 ml water and crushed chicken bouillons.
  5. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, covering the pot almost completely with a lid. Cook for 45 minutes, check for seasoning, then turn off and set aside until ready to eat.
Rice and beans
  1. Soak the beans in water overnight.
  2. Drain the beans and put them into a large saucepan with the pancetta, garlic, onion and 900 ml water. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer. Cover with a lid and cook for 18-20 minutes until tender.
  3. Add the coconut milk, pepper, salt and thyme and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Add the rice, stir well, cover and simmer very gently on low heat until the water is absorbed (about 25 minutes). Give the rice a stir from time to time to stop it sticking to the bottom. Add a little water, if needed.
Recipe Notes

Both the Stew chicken and Rice and beans need to be started one day before.

Share this Recipe
  • God this looks beautiful and you are using one of my most favourites again, achiote.

  • I need to make this when I make the tres leches rice pudding. Mark will flip – he loved the food in Belize. I have some of the achiote paste I made using your recipe a year so so ago ( it’s in the freezer), so I am set to go. Although I need to check out the Herdez Salsa – might not be able to eat that. But I can substitute.

    • Great! Yes, something tells me there’s garlic in the salsa

      • I could not find that specific salsa but they did have a green salsa of chiles and tomatillos that is garlic free. I think that should work.

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