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The Caribbean Kitchen - Recipe 019

019 - Catherine's Chicken Pelau

By Catherine Donnow,
Modified by Jim Lynch

First added 02July2001




Chicken Pelau
Preparation: About 10 minutes
Marinate: 30 minutes
Cooking: 50 to 60 minutes
To serve: 8 North Americans (or 6 West Indians!!)

5 lb chicken
2 stalks scallions
5 cloves garlic
pinch of ground pimento
water to cover
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbsp oil
   2 Tbsp granulated sugar
   2 Tbsp casareep
4 cups rice (long-grain, parboiled)
2 cups black-eye peas
2 onions, chopped

6 cups chicken stock or water
2 cups coconut milk
2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp butter

2 young carrots
1 green pepper
1 cups cooked peas
1 can niblet corn
2 cup chopped bacon, baked crisp
any leftover vegetables


Wash chicken in water. Drain, and season with scallion, garlic and pimento. Leave to marinate in water and soy sauce for 1/2 hour.

Heat oil in Dutch oven (if baking) or skillet (if cooking on the stove burner) and add sugar. Stir and allow to caramelise to add color to the dish (granulated sugar caramelises better than brown sugar, and casareep or browning may be used where available.)

Add chicken and cook enough just enough to allow to stiffen and obtain a rich, brown color.

Add uncooked rice and chopped onion, saute about 5 minutes. Add stock, coconut milk and all other ingredients.

Cook covered in the Dutch oven with low heat, or in oven covered with foil at 350 degrees, until rice is ready, about an hour.

Desired texture is loose brown rice with chicken falling apart when the mixture is turned over.

SplatterFlinger's suggestions:

Using chicken pieces with bones left in will add flavour, but tends to make it more like finger food. Chicken quantities are variable from 3 to 5 pounds.

Chicken pieces pre-cleaned of bones and cartilage add convenience for that more "sophisticated" setting where ladies may be involved in a more formal seated setting.

Health-conscious individuals may also want to remove the skin from the chicken before cooking - another decision about whether to enhance the flavour or to remove the cholesterol. Butter is specified as a healthier (and more flavourful) alternative to hydrogenated margerine, but vegetable or olive oil could be substituted for butter.

This is an excellent all-in-one dish for making in quantity, portioning out and freezing for the convenience of future snacks or meals. Many nationalities of West Indians use this as beach or picnic food.


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