Saturday, 9 May 2015

Oven Baked Jamaican Fricasseed Chicken

Fricasseed Chicken is a Jamaican staple. The original method involves seasoning the chicken with the onions, garlic etc, and letting it marinate overnight. Then you would have to remove the onions etc before frying the chicken pieces in a lot of oil, and all before stewing it gently in the sauce. This is a new way of making this less greasy. I have also modified the way the sauce is made as I always hated to have to pick out the chunks of onion, green onions, and thyme sprigs in the sauce. All that stuff made it more difficult to enjoy the sauce over the rice unless you removed all the bits and pieces before eating. In addition, because it uses a variety of baking methods (Bake, steam bake, and broil) the flavors are more complex than you get from just stewed chicken. This has the flavors of an oven roasted, BBQ, steamed chicken. It is traditionally served with rice and red beans, fried plantain, sliced tomato and lettuce.

2 lbs chicken thighs or drumsticks, bone in, skin on
Grace Chicken, Dried Jerk, or All Purpose Seasoning
½ tsp salt
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp cooking oil to mix with raw chicken plus 1 tbsp oil to fry the onion etc
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 tbsp Pickapeppa Sauce
1 inch ginger root, peeled and finely grated
1 Medium sized onion, cut into wedges
3 Roma Tomatoes, cut into wedges
3 cloves Garlic
1 yellow or red Habanero pepper, left whole
A few sprigs of thyme, use the leaves, not the stems.
4-5 Allspice grains
3 stalks Green onions, both white and green parts
½ cup cubed green or red bell pepper (or both) (optional)
1/2 cup Tomato chili sauce (I use the Maggi brand made for the Indian market)

  1. Score the chicken pieces by making one or two cuts on both sides of the chicken down to the bone
  2. Season liberally with the All Purpose, Jerk or Chicken Seasoning (whichever one you opt to use). I also add an extra ½ tsp salt as the bottled seasoning, in my opinion, needs more. Rub the seasoning into the chicken, especially into the slashed areas.
  3. Put the chicken pieces in a Ziploc bag and add the Worcester Sauce, Pickapeppa Sauce, Honey, cooking oil, and grated ginger. Mix the pieces well by squeezing the bag and marinate in fridge overnight.
  4. When you are ready to start making the dish, fry the onion, whole Habanero pepper, tomatoes, garlic and green onions in about 1 tbsp cooking oil for about 3-4 minutes until the onion starts to break apart, and become translucent and soft. This mixture, including the Habanero, flavors the oil and allows it to transfer the flavor to the dish. Remove from heat, REMOVE THE HABANERO WHOLE and put aside. Puree the other things in a food processor or blender. After blending, add the thyme, allspice grains, and tomato chili sauce to this pureed mixture.
  5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F, and place the chicken pieces skin side up in a heat proof Pyrex oven roaster (or any other roaster). Bake at this high heat until the chicken skin is browned, and the seasonings smell fragrant (20-25 minutes). Remove from oven. At this stage you may discard the oil in the dish if you wish. If it’s a lot from the chicken skin, I do that. DO NOT however remove the skin!
  6. Pour the pureed mixture of onions, tomatoes, etc, over the partially baked and browned chicken pieces. Place the whole Habanero pepper on top. If you have opted to use the bell peppers, sprinkle over the top as well. Cover the dish with foil, decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, and bake for 45 minutes. This allows the chicken to steam bake in the sauce, and absorb its flavors, and for the sauce to absorb the flavors from the seasonings on the chicken. It also allows the Habanero to flavor the sauce without it becoming too spicy (as it would if you sliced or chopped it up).
  7. Remove from oven and take the foil off. Make sure that the chicken pieces are well mixed in with the sauce. Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F, and let the sauce bubble and thicken as it cooks in the oven.
  8. Remove from oven, taste the sauce and if needed, season to your liking (rather than adding more spicy seasoning at this stage, I add a chicken bouillon cube, crumbled and mixed into the sauce). Place the roaster pan under a broiler, and broil until the skin on the chicken pieces develops a slight char in areas (as seen in the photo), and the sauce starts to bubble. Enjoy!

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