Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken with Roasted Groundnuts

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I’m proud to collaborate with more than 30 Black recipe developers as we celebrate Black History Month 2022. This Virtual Potluck explores Black food through the lens of Afrofuturism. Our collaboration of recipes explores the intersection of the Black diaspora via culture, future, geopolitics, imagination, liberation, culture, and technology.

Cook and share the inspiring recipes by checking out the list of participants at the end of this post. You can also follow each participant and continue the discussion with us on social media using the hashtag #BHMVP2022!


Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken Picture

A fusion of a traditional Caribbean Brown Stew Chicken and West African Peanut Stew this dish features pineapple chunks, and sweet and savory notes of brown sugar, ground cloves, allspice, and smoked paprika. It uses roasted groundnuts (peanuts) as a thickening agent giving a nutty essence to this stew.

When learning into this year’s Black History Month Virtual Potluck theme of “Afrofuturism”, my mind swirled with an abundance of recipes that I could reimagine to align with this theme. I began to reflect deeply about my own journey in exploring dishes with deep ties to the African diaspora and how many of the ingredients and cooking techniques we know and love today have both celebrated and complicated histories. Specifically ingredients with ties to the enslavement of my ancestors.

My concept for Afrofuturism involves allowing us to reclaim the narrative around two main ingredients. This dish pays homage to their versatility and inclusion in a number of African and Caribbean dishes, and at the same time shed light on their complex histories and ties to the American South. At the same time, this dish represents how the black experience will continue to evolve and be reimagined through food and culture.

PINEAPPLES AND PEANUTS: A BRIEF HISTORY

Pineapples are regarded as one of the first symbols of exoticism, power, and wealth in the Southern United States. However, pineapples were also considered an emblem of colonialism with strong ties to plantation slavery as pineapples were cropped harvested by Africans who were enslaved in the American south and other areas of the world. There are accounts that during the Colonial Period one pineapple could cost upward of what today would be equivalent to several thousand dollars. Today pineapples are one of the most common fruits in Africa and in the Caribbean. They are used in many dishes, and are also regarded for their health benefits.

When it comes to groundnuts (peanuts), some African cultures believe that the peanut plant is believed to have a soul, and its importance is portrayed in bronze and iron castings. They are extremely important to many dishes in Africa because of the versatility of their use. In many recipes, they are ground finely into a paste or powder that is then used to thicken and flavor stews and other dishes. Similar to the pineapple, Africans who were enslaved then introduced peanuts to North Americans during the African slave trade.

Ingredients for Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken with Roasted Groundnuts

Some key ingredients for my Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken include:

  • Chicken Thighs and Legs – Chicken pieces with dark meat are the preferred cuts for dishes like this. They contain more fat which means they fair well with long cook times because it gives them an opportunity to tenderize, and they are virtually impossible to over-cook.
  • Browning Sauce – How does this dish get it’s dark color? Browning of course! Brown stew chicken wouldn’t be complete without browning sauce. This is what gives this dish its deep brown color. This sauce’s flavor is reminiscent of a deep smokey molasses and it adds an extra punch of flavor to many Caribbean dishes and desserts.
  • Maggi Seasoning – Another dark brown liquid seasoning, Maggi is very similar to soy sauce. Not only does it increase the salt content of the dish, but it also contributes to giving the dish the deep brown color people know and love.
  • Fresh Pineapples – No canned pineapples here, for this dish use fresh ripe pineapples. Not only does this add a nice touch of sweetness to the dish, but it also helps to further tenderize the meat. That’s because pineapple is an enzyme bromelain which helps weaken collagen fibers in meat. You can also use the hollowed pineapple rind as a bowl for an elevated presentations.
  • Finely Ground Groundnuts (Peanuts) – This dish uses finely ground groundnuts (peanuts) as a thickening agent, similar to corn starch or flour. When ground very finely they become the consistency of a paste. This paste can deepen the flavor of any dish, giving it a nuttier flavor while maintaining the deep brown color of the dish.
  • Ketchup – Not only does ketchup add a bit of tomato flavor to the dish, it also acts as a sweetener. If you prefer a stronger tomato base, substitute the 1/4 cup of ketchup for 1-2 tablespoons of tomato paste.

Grab the full recipe for my Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken with Roasted Groundnuts below.

Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken with Roasted Groundnuts Recipe

Servings: 4-6 | Prep time: 510 minutes | Cook time: 45 Minutes | Total time: 55 Minutes

Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs or Leg Quarters (Approximately 2 – 3 lbs)
  • Juice of 1 Small Lemon (alternatively 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Sliced)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Sliced)
  • 1 Medium Carrot (Sliced)
  • 1 Medium Sized Tomato (Diced)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Pineapple Chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground All Spice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Browning
  • 1 Tablespoon Maggi Seasoning (alternatively Soy Sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger (Minced)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
  • 2 Cups Hot Water
  • 1/4 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Pepper
  • 3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Ground Roasted Peanuts (Groundnuts)
  • Green Onion, Pineapples, and Roasted Peanuts (For Garnish)

Instructions 

  1. In a large bowl clean chicken by rubbing with lemon juice. Once cleaned add onion, red pepper, and carrots to bowl. Combine salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground all spice, browning, soy sauce and brown sugar to make a marinade. Add marinade to bowl with chicken and vegetables and stir vigorously until all ingredients are well coated. (Optional: You can make this immediately or cover and marinade for up to an hour. )
  2. In a large skillet or dutch oven heat vegetable oil until hot. Once hot, add chicken to pan and brown. Approximately 3 minutes each side. Once both sides reach a deep golden brown color, remove from skillet and set aside on a plate.
  3. Reduce heat to medium, and add fresh ginger and garlic. Cook for two to three minutes until fragrant, then add mixture of onion, red pepper, and carrots and cook for another three minutes until they begin to soften. Return chicken to pan.
  4. Add two cups of hot water and ketchup to skillet and stir slowly until well combined. Bring to a low boil. Use a fork to poke holes in the scotch bonnet pepper then add to pot with fresh thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes.
  5. Once done remove cover and increase heat to medium high to return pot to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in 2 tablespoons of finely ground peanuts until stew broth starts to thicken. Once it reaches desired thickness remove from heat.
  6. Serve in bowl garnished with green onions, pineapple slices, and/or roasted groundnuts (peanuts).
Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken Picture

Brown Stew Pineapple Chicken with Roasted Groundnuts

Yield: 4-6

Ingredients

  • Chicken Thighs or Leg Quarters (Approximately 2 - 3 lbs)
  • Juice of 1 Small Lemon (alternatively 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice)
  • 1 Medium Onion (Sliced)
  • 1 Red Pepper (Sliced)
  • 1 Medium Carrot (Sliced)
  • 1 Medium Sized Tomato (Diced)
  • 1 Cup Fresh Pineapple Chunks
  • 1 Tablespoon Salt
  • 2 Teaspoons Smoked Paprika
  • 2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 2 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground All Spice
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 2 Teaspoons Browning
  • 1 Tablespoon Maggi Seasoning (alternatively Soy Sauce)
  • 2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
  • 1 Inch Fresh Ginger (Minced)
  • 4 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
  • 2 Cups Hot Water
  • 1/4 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet or Habanero Pepper
  • 3 Sprigs of Fresh Thyme
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 2 Tablespoons Finely Ground Roasted Peanuts (Groundnuts)
  • Green Onion, Pineapples, and Roasted Peanuts (For Garnish)

Instructions

    1. In a large bowl clean chicken by rubbing with lemon juice. Once cleaned add onion, red pepper, and carrots to bowl. Combine salt, smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, ground all spice, browning, soy sauce and brown sugar to make a marinade. Add marinade to bowl with chicken and vegetables and stir vigorously until all ingredients are well coated. (Optional: You can make this immediately or cover and marinade for up to an hour. )
    2. In a large skillet or dutch oven heat vegetable oil until hot. Once hot, add chicken to pan and brown. Approximately 3 minutes each side. Once both sides reach a deep golden brown color, remove from skillet and set aside on a plate.
    3. Reduce heat to medium, and add fresh ginger and garlic. Cook for two to three minutes until fragrant, then add mixture of onion, red pepper, and carrots and cook for another three minutes until they begin to soften. Return chicken to pan.
    4. Add two cups of hot water and ketchup to skillet and stir slowly until well combined. Bring to a low boil. Use a fork to poke holes in the scotch bonnet pepper then add to pot with fresh thyme and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes.
    5. Once done remove cover and increase heat to medium high to return pot to a boil. Once boiling, whisk in 2 tablespoons of finely ground peanuts until stew broth starts to thicken. Once it reaches desired thickness remove from heat.
    6. Serve in bowl garnished with green onions, pineapple slices, and/or roasted groundnuts (peanuts).
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 289Total Fat: 13gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 1446mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 3gSugar: 15gProtein: 18g

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