Belizean Stew Chicken

Prep Time: 2 hours (about 1 hour hands-on time). Don’t let the long ingredient list overwhelm you! Achiote Paste* excepted, it’s likely that you already have all or most of these ingredients on hand.

Meal Notes: I serve this stew over rice. I was feeling ambitious the first time I made this recipe, so I whipped up some Belizean fry jacks while the chicken cooked. They were delicious, but - real talk - that was a lot of work for one meal. An easy cornbread (or a store-bought loaf of sourdough) would also pair nicely with this chicken, as would a salad.

Source: Modified slightly from Genius Kitchen


stew chicken.PNG
  • 3 lbs bone-in chicken thighs and/or drumsticks

  • 2 Tablespoons white vinegar

  • 2 Tablespoons Achiote Paste*

  • 1 onion

  • 1 bell pepper (any color)

  • 5 garlic cloves

  • 3 Tablespoons soy sauce

  • 3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 3 Tablespoons cumin

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 1 teaspoon oregano

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1-2 Tablespoon liquid coconut oil

  • 1-2 teaspoons sugar

  • 1 bay leaf


  • Prepare the ingredients: Dice the onion, pepper, and garlic. Trim excess fat from chicken pieces and break down into serving sizes, if necessary.

  • Marinate chicken: In large bowl, mix together the Achiote Paste and vinegar. Add chicken to this bowl. Rub this mixture into the chicken pieces. To the bowl of chicken, add Worchestershire sauce, cumin, thyme, oregano, and black pepper. Mix together. Set aside chicken to marinate.

  • Cook chicken: In a large pot or dutch oven, melt coconut oil. Add sugar to the melted oil. Drain chicken, reserving marinade, then add to the pot. Brown on both sides in the oil and sugar mixture.

  • Saute vegetables: Add the diced onion, pepper, and garlic to the chicken. Saute until onions are translucent.

  • Simmer: Add reserved marinade and enough water to cover the chicken. Simmer 40 minutes, until chicken is tender. Serve over rice.


*A note on Achiote Paste

I had never used Achiote Paste before making this recipe. Unfortunately, my local grocery store doesn’t carry it. If you’re in this same boat, a couple of tips -

1) I was was motivated enough to order Achiote Paste from Amazon. You can find the listing here.

2) Another option: ground annotto seeds are a less expensive substitute that can also be found on Amazon.

3) If you’re like, “Cool cool, that’s great, but I never expect to use this ingredient again in my life and I’m not paying for it” - fair. I found an article in the Seattle Times, suggesting turmeric as a possible substitute. I’ve never tried this option, so I can’t personally vouch for it. But, given that the role of Achiote Paste in this recipe is mostly to add color and another layer of flavor complexity, I think it’s a safe bet that a small amount of turmeric would do the trick.