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The Caribbean Kitchen - Recipe 026
026 - Confetti Chicken Pelau

"Splatterflinger" version by Jim Lynch
Original pelau recipe by Mary de Verteuil)

added 09 August 2003

Click on the images for much larger photos!!!
The Covered
Roasting Pan.
Completely cooked
and steaming hot.
A closer look...
Click on the images for much larger photos!!!
Beginning to "fluff". Ready to serve! A more "elegant"


Confetti Chicken Pelau
(Pronounced Pell-OW!)

I helped someone make this delicious recipe about 1995 and have been looking for it ever since. The original Trinidadian Pelau is from Mrs. Mary de Verteuil, and I "kicked it up a notch" with some additions (the original is HERE). I also tried to reduce the labour involved - hope you enjoy it as much as I do!!!

Jim Lynch
(aka Splatterflinger)


Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes - then leave in oven until needed!!
To serve: 6 West Indians (or 10 - 12 north americans!!)
Timing Hints: The Pelau only takes half an hour to prepare once you get started. Then, as long as you turn the oven off at 30 minutes and leave the pan inside there there is no rush to serve - all the moisture is trapped inside the baking pan.

Equipment Hints: Again, this is a classic one-pot dish from a cuisine where many families only have one pot. Use your heaviest, thickest bottom covered pot or oven-ready skillet for best results. I use a large oval high-top turkey roasting pan (with its' cover) and that works well.

(tsp = teaspoon; tbsp = tablespoon)
About 3 tbsp cooking oil (olive oil is healthiest)
1 tbsp brown sugar

1 whole fryer chicken cut into pieces
About 2-3 pounds of thighs (about 12), drumsticks and/or breasts, etc.

Leave the bones in, if you wish. They emerge by themselves later on anyway!!

2 large onions, diced
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 bulb ginger, skinned, finely chopped
1 tbsp vinegar (any kind)
1 tomato, roughly diced
Bunch of thyme - 1/2 with, 1/2 without stalks)
6 Chives, chopped into 1/4 inch lengths
1 large can of black-eyed peas (or red beans) (drained & washed)
1/2 tsp Salt, 1/4 tsp Pepper

2 large sweet peppers, diced
          (2 colours make CONFETTI!!)(optional)
1 tsp hot pepper sauce (optional)
1 tsp curry powder (optional)

4 cups water
6 tbsp Cassareep (thick gravy browning)

2 cups rice

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

In a large skillet (frying pan) - or the baking pan indicated below - heat the brown sugar in oil until melted and caramelised.

Add chicken to skillet and brown in the hot oil
OR Bake all chicken in pre-heated oven @ 350 degrees F for 30 minutes to brown
OR Deep-fry chicken in 15-minute batches 
Reserve chicken (if deep-fried, dry well with paper towels)

Add all seasonings and 2 cups of water, stir and allow to cook  for 35 minutes. Then add 3 cups of water and gently stir in all of the rice.

Arrange the chicken (without the toothpicks!!) at the bottom of a baking pan (one which has a cover). Pour the liquid and rice mixture over the top, level the mixture over the entire pan, and add water just to that level.

Raisins can be added with the water or after the oven is turned off.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. Turn the oven off.

The Pelau will now be ready whenever you are - just leave the top on and the oven door closed. When ready to serve remove the pan from the oven and uncover, fluff well with a fork or spoon (to distribute the flaking meat and allow some of the remaining moisture to evaporate), and take directly to the table.
SplatterFlinger's notes/suggestions:
  • Takes literally about 30 minutes of preparation, 30 minutes of cooking. If deep-frying the chicken, the first 30 minutes is 2 batches of 6 thighs each in the fryer while I slice, dice and generally prepare everything else. When all the chicken is done, it all goes into one covered pan and the meal is ready 30 minutes later (or whenever you get back to it).
  • In the spirit of one-pot cooking, you could use the same large baking pan on the stovetop to make the seasoning sauce, and mix the chicken into the rice before topping with water and covering to bake.
  • If this is not for an informal family dinner, remove everything from the baking pan to an attractive serving dish with a large kitchen spoon or ladle, extracting the bones, cartilage and thyme stalks as you transfer (they are uncovered anyway and easily found as you are fluffing the rice).

    Leaving the bones and thyme stalks in for the cooking segment is a definite flavour enhancement.
  • West Indians at home would plate themselves directly from the baking pan at the table, and remove the bones and thyme stalks as they are eating.
  • Chicken pieces pre-cleaned of bones and cartilage, and using only the thyme leaves are appropriate for that more "sophisticated" setting where ladies may be involved.
  • 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.
  • This is an excellent all-in-one dish for making in quantity, portioning out and freezing for the convenience of future snacks or meals.



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