Some of the best-loved foods in Belize are also the simplest. One of the classic dishes enjoyed throughout Belize is a signature take on the Caribbean standard of stew(ed) chicken with rice and beans. The perfect combination of protein and complex carbohydrates, stew chicken with rice and beans is a hearty dish that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Stew Chicken Ingredients
One 4-lb chicken cut into pieces
Vinegar or lime juice to taste
1 clove garlic (finely minced)
Dime size red recado (Caribbean annato paste)
1 tsp. teach of thyme, salt, and black pepper
1/4 tsp cumin
1 tsp. brown sugar
1 small tomato (ripe)
1 sliver of ginger (very small)
Cilantro (to taste)
2 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 tablespoon finely minced green/red sweet/bell pepper.
Stew Chicken Instructions
Thoroughly wash the chicken.
Coat chicken with mixture of vinegar/lime juice, recado, salt, cumin, thyme, black pepper, and cilantro.
Heat two tablespoons of cooking oil in a pot.
Add brown sugar, cooking until sugar melts and turns dark brown. Be careful not to burn sugar.
Add minced garlic to pot.
Add ginger, removing from pot when it turns brown.
Add seasoned chicken and cook until fully browned on all sides.
Add onion, tomato, sweet pepper, and half cup of water to pot.
Reduce heat to medium and cover pot, allowing to simmer for approximately one hour. Add water as necessary.
Remove from heat and serve when chicken is very tender.
Rice and Beans Ingredients
1 pound red kidney beans (soaked)
6-8 cups water
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup coconut milk
2 pounds rice (dry)
2 cloves garlic (minced/smashed)
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. thyme
Black pepper to taste
Rice and Beans Instructions
Place softened beans in pot and apply high heat.
Add garlic and onion to pot.
Allow beans to boil until tender.
Add black pepper, thyme, and salt.
Add coconut milk and return mixture to a rolling boil.
Wash the rice and then add it to the pot.
Stir in rice, cover pot, and reduce heat to medium.
Continue to cook until rice is tender.
Note: if rice is not tender after all the liquid is absorbed, add additional water and continue to cook on low heat.
The Ixtabai Restaurant located on the grounds of the Cahal Pech Village Resort in San Ignacio is one of the best places in western Belize to enjoy traditional culinary classics including stew chicken with rice and beans.