Do you like the vibrant and rich flavors of the Caribbean Chicken? Caribbean cuisine is a blend of ethnic influences. Every dish is like a dip into its history and the traditions of its people. It blends the indigenous flavors of the native Arawak and Carib Indians, European colonial influences, and African flavors introduced by slaves.
This Caribbean Chicken with Rice and Beans boasts those traditional spicy and sweet flavors while taking advantage of ingredients common to the islands. And yes, there will be hot peppers so grab a glass of milk or some bread and butter to put out the fire if you get a bit more of the pepper than you bargained for.
I like to roast the peppers before I start this recipe. I like the deeper flavor roasting brings to the pepper, feel free to skip this step. Position the oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F. Place 5 – 8 habanero peppers on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for 5 – 10, or until they start to blacken and crack. Turn and roast the other side for 3 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool until ready to use.
Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and dried oregano to taste. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12″ cast- iron or heavy nonstick skillet over high heat until hot but not smoking. Nestle chicken in skillet, skin side down, and cook 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-high; continue cooking skin side down, occasionally rearranging chicken thighs rotating and flipping to evenly distribute heat, until fat renders and skin is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate and wipe out any remaining oil.
Mix 1 can (16.5 ounces) coconut milk, 2 whole habanera peppers, and 6 sprigs of fresh thyme to the skillet. Return the chicken to the skillet, cover with a tight lid and simmer on low for 30 minutes.
The Rice and Beans:
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Toast 1 cup long grain rice, 1/2 chopped yellow onion, and 1/2 chopped bell pepper.
Add 1 (16.5 ounces) can coconut milk measured out to 2 cups. If short add enough water to make 2 cups. If two much save the extra in case the rice gets too dry while cooking. Rinse and drain 1 can of black beans and add to saucepan with 3 whole habanero peppers, fresh chopped cilantro, 6 sprigs destemmed thyme, and salt to taste. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the thyme stems and stir until the rice and beans are thoroughly mixed.
Transfer the chicken to a plate. Serve with the rice and beans. As they say in Jamaica, “Betta belly buss dan good food waste.”
- 6 chicken thighs
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 can (16.5 ounces) coconut milk
- 2 habanero peppers, whole
- 6 sprigs thyme
- 1 cup long grain rice
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 1/2 bell pepper, chopped
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 can (15 ounces) black beans
- 3 habanero peppers, whole
- Fresh cilantro to taste, chopped
- 6 sprigs thyme, destemmed
Season both sides of the chicken thighs with salt, pepper, and oregano.
Heat the oil in cast-iron, or heavy skillet on high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken and sear for 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium-high; continue searing both sides rotating and flipping to evenly distribute heat,
Add the can of coconut milk to the pan along with the peppers and thyme. Cook on low heat for 30 minutes.
In a medium saucepan, toast the rice with the onion and bell pepper.
Add the coconut milk, black beans, habanero peppers, cilantro, thyme, and salt.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes. Stir until the rice and beans are thoroughly mixed and cover until ready to serve.