I call this dish 3 times cooked because it is first marinated, then simmered and cooled before being simmered again. This allows the flavours to develop at various stages. The finished dish is soft, rich and piquant.
This is my version of a dish I had in the Bahamas a while back. The restaurant called it Trinidad Chicken. I subsequently showed the recipe to a Trinidadian lady I know and she told me it didn’t resemble any chicken dish she’d ever had! So, I don’t know how authentic it is but it jogs a happy memory. Most importantly, it tastes fan-tas-tic and is definitely in my chicken recipes hall of fame.
For the marinade…
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large or 2 medium tomatoes, cut into wedges
1 large celery stick, finely sliced
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh coriander, finely chopped
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
8 chicken thighs
For the finished dish…
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
25g dark brown soft sugar
2 tablespoons tomato ketchup (it’s got to be Heinz, hasn’t it?)
In a large bowl, combine all of the marinade ingredients except the chicken. Add the chicken, turning it to coat well, cover it with cling film and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
Remove the chicken thighs and pat dry with kitchen paper, reserving the marinade mixture. In a large heavy-based saucepan, heat the oil over a medium heat until hot but not smoking and add half the sugar. When the sugar begins to bubble add half the chicken thighs and cook, turning occasionally, until well browned. Remove the chicken to a plate and repeat with the remaining sugar and chicken thighs. Remove those too to the plate once they are well browned.
Pour the reserved marinade into the pan, add the tomato ketchup and water and bring it to a boil, stirring occasionally. Return the chicken to the pan and simmer it, covered, for 45 minutes. At the end of that time, remove the pan from the heat and let it go completely cold – approximately 2 to 3 hours. At this stage the dish can be stored in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
To serve, bring the pan back to simmering point and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
This dish is delicious served with rice pilaf, pineapple chutney and a crisp green salad.