In the northern hemisphere, stews are associated with winter. In my part of the world, a stew or any dish that does not require constant peeking and stirring is just perfect even during the most humid months. So, despite the weather that makes your skin feels sticky five minutes after stepping out of the shower, I cooked this chicken, tomatoes and pineapple stew for lunch.
Is it just the no-peeking-and-stirring that makes this stew a good idea even during the summer? There is another reason. Fruits. While fruits are available in the tropics at any time of the year, they are at their best, and they are cheapest, during summer. So we make the most of them. More smoothies and shakes, and every imaginable fruit-based summer drink. And, of course, we integrate more fruits in savory dishes.
So, yes, fresh pineapple went into this chicken stew. I used about a third of a medium-sized pineapple.
For added flavor and to prevent the chicken from acquiring that not-so-attractive boiled texture, the chicken thighs were browned in butter.
The chicken thighs were scooped out and moved to a plate and, in the mixture of butter and rendered chicken fat, sliced onion, garlic and tomatoes were sauteed just until they started to soften. Pineapple chunks and thinly sliced kaffir limes leaves were added, and lime juice poured in.
The browned chicken went back into the pan where they cooked in the juices of the pineapple and vegetables. No water or broth added. So, you can just imagine the concentrated the flavors of this dish.
Chicken, Tomatoes and Pineapple Stew
- 6 chicken thighs skin on
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion thinly sliced
- 4 medium tomatoes quartered
- 2 cups fresh pineapple chunks
- 1 pair kaffir lime leaves thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon lime juice or lemon juice
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- basil chiffonade to garnish
Wipe the chicken thighs dry with paper towels. Place in a bowl, pour in the Worcestershire Sauce and add half of the minced garlic. Mix well. Cover the bowl, place in the fridge and allow the chicken to marinate for a couple of hours or overnight. Remove from the fridge half an hour before cooking time to allow the chicken to warm to room temperature.
Melt the butter in a pan wide enough to hold the chicken thighs in a single layer. Brown the chicken on both sides. Pour in the marinade. Continue cooking until the liquid dries up. Scoop out the chicken thighs and move to a plate.
Reheat the butter and rendered chicken fat. Saute the remaining half of the garlic, sliced onion and tomatoes with a little salt and pepper in the hot butter. Cook until softened, about five minutes.
Pour the lime juice into the pan. Add the pineapple chunks. Stir in the sliced kaffir lime leaves.
Add the browned chicken back to the pan. For best results, cook them in a single layer so you won't have to flip and stir.
Cover the pan tightly, lower the heat and let the chicken stew in the pan juices for 30 minutes or until cooked through. The actual cooking time depends in the size of the chicken thighs. There is no need to add water or broth. The fresh pineapple chunks will expel their juice in the heat. The combined juices of the pineapple and tomatoes are enough to cook the chicken through.
If there appears to be too much liquid by the time the chicken is done, cook the chicken, tomatoes and pineapple stew over medium-high heat with the pan uncovered until the sauce is reduced and thick.
Serve the chicken, tomatoes and pineapple stew sprinkled with basil chiffonade. It's good with rice, crusty bread or cooked pasta.