Having grown up in an area where there are more ethnic food restaurants than American-style restaurants, I've had an interest in international cooking ever since I knew how to sauté an onion. While a typical teenager would frequent burger or pizza joints, my friends and I made the rounds at our local Thai, Japanese, Mexican, and Indian restaurants. As a result, I'm always excited at the prospect of cooking up new-to-me food.
When I saw Cooking Light’s recipe for Jamaican Chicken Stew, I instantly knew I wanted to give a meatless version a shot. To me, there is nothing more satisfying than a flavorful stew served over hot brown rice. Plus, I was eager to learn about another international cuisine. So I fired up the ol’ Google and learned all about Jamaican food.
Along with its beautiful beaches, Jamaica is known for its vibrant and flavorful food. Jamaican cuisine is influenced by a number of other countries and continents, including Spain, Africa, England, India, China, and France. A typical main dish includes spiced seafood or chicken with rice and beans or peas. Curries and stews made with flavorful spices are commonplace, and fried plantains are normally served alongside. Beverages are just as fun as the food, as Jamaicans are famous for their fresh fruit juices, ginger beer, homemade sodas, and let’s not forget: rum!
This recipe incorporates many of the typical flavors used in Jamaican cooking, but instead of using chicken for the stew, I made it meatless by adding a can of chickpeas. I also omitted the capers from the inspiration recipe because I didn’t have any on hand, and I knew the stew would be flavorful enough without them.
I was amazed by how easy this Jamaican Chickpea Stew was to make. It requires just two steps: sauté the onion with the spices, then simmer with the remaining ingredients for 15 minutes. Plus, the ingredients list is super simple. Between your spice cabinet and your pantry, I’m willing to bet you already have all of the ingredients on hand to do dinner island-style.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion diced
- 4 cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 1 ½ tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp ground allspice
- ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- salt to taste
- ¼ cup dry red wine
- 1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 3 cups cooked brown rice
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder, thyme, allspice, red pepper flakes, and salt; cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Stir in the red wine, black beans, chickpeas, and tomatoes. Bring to a full boil, then reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Serve over brown rice.
This recipe was originally published on 4 June 2014.