Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 152! Saint Vincent and The Grenadines - Guinness Bottle Chicken Stew - Up Next, Samoa

This was one of those weeks where life got in the way of cooking much of anything. Between spending a full day in the emergency room with my son, following up with an ear, nose and throat doc who informed my happy 16 year old that he'll probably have to get his tonsils out, our elderly cat disappearing, as well as various other commitments, this flavorful and spicy Guinness Chicken Stew from Saint Vincent and The Grenadines had to go on the way back burner. But now it's Sunday and I'm not letting another thing get between me and my kitchen. Peace at last.

An Island country in the Lesser Antilles, Saint Vincent and The Grenadines is a Windward Island that sits on the southern end of the eastern border for the Caribbean Sea. The main island is Saint Vincent, the northern portion of the smaller chain of islands stretches from Saint Vincent to Grenada. To Saint Vincent's north is Saint Lucia and to the east, Barbados. This beautiful tropical tisland was originally inhabited by the native Caribs, who fought mightily against European colonization, until 1719 when the French over powered their resistance efforts. Once established, the French developed coffee, tobacco, indigo, cotton and plantations that were largely worked by African slaves.  From 1763 until 1979, the island changed hands many times from French to British rule and back again, ultimately gaining independence to become its own parliamentary democracy. The country's mountainous terrain and tropical climate create ideal conditions for volcanoes, and hurricanes which have caused many deaths as well as environmental and agricultural devastation over the years. Despite unforeseen natural disasters, however, the island is offers visitors gorgeous beaches, exotic plants and wildlife, wonderful food and warm hospitality and a strong and vibrant culture. 

Cuisine in Saint Vincent and The Grenadines is generally hot and spicy. Meat stews, curries, shellfish, pickled and salted fish fish are typical to island cooking. Cassava, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, onions and bread fruit are staples as well. One of the island's specialties is Callaloo, a dish that is cooked with spinach or dasheen leaves and coconut milk. Arrow root, a thickening agent used in soups, stews and gravies is grown on the island, as well as a wide variety of tropical fruits such as bananas, citrus, mangoes, papayas and one of my favorites, passion fruit.

Guinness Bottle Chicken Stew (Recipe Adapted from Caribbean Choice)

2 lbs. chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 10 oz. can or bottle of Guinness Stout beer
1 cup chicken broth
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, seeded and sliced
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. fresh chopped parsley
1 tsp. chilli powder

Combine flour, salt and pepper on a plate or paper bag. Toss cubed chicken to coat.
In a large pot, heat oil, then add chicken and fry for 3 minutes on each side until golden brown.
Remove from oil and drain on paper towels.
Pour off oil until about 2 Tbsp. remains, then add onion and garlic and saute for 4 mintutes.
Add Guinness, then reduce by half, then return chicken.
Add broth, tomato paste, peppers, parsley and chilli powder.
Let simmer covered for about 15 minutes.
Serve over rice.

Final Assessment: This was a wonderfully satisfying and easy to make dish. The addition of Guinness gave the stew a rich, full-bodied flavor with a great kick from the chilli powder. Served over a bed of rice with a nice cold beer, this a perfect lunch.

(C) 2010-2011, What's Cooking in Your World?/ Sarah Commerford/All Rights Reserved 


Young Werther said...

Sorry to read about the misfortunes... glad to have see you back.

Wonder how the Irish influence developed in St Vincent. Does the bitterness of the stout disappear?

sadie said...

Thank you, Mr. Werther! I couldn't find anything specific to the Irish, but the British have a major cultural influence, so perhaps the Guinness snuck in that way? As for the bitterness, there was none - it only added richness and a deepened the flavor of the stew - Thanks for the kind words as well...this parenting stuff is for the birds ;)

Leah said...

Umm...looks so good I can almost taste it. A first glance at the raw material and I thought it was some sort of big fish but when I read the title I realized it was chicken. Lovely presentation.
Hope everyone's in good health now. Good luck in your journeys, and many more wonderful dishes.

sadie said...

Thank you, Leah! It's a delicious and easy meal to make. Thanks for the well wishes, too!