Jamaican Beef Stew With Rice Recipe

Jamaican Beef Stew in a bowl with white rice and green onions sprinkled on top
Jennifer Olvera

Why It Works

  • Browning meat on the stovetop before cooking in the oven builds flavor.
  • Habaneros add both spicy heat and fruity notes to the stew.
  • Slow-cooking in the oven ensures tender beef without stirring or additional hands-on time.

Jamaican food, like the nation itself, has its indigenous roots and has been heavily influenced over centuries by trade, colonialism, and the exploration era: You'll find influences from west Africa, Spain, China, and India. This stew reflects Jamaica and all it is, with indigenous habanero peppers and spices that originated around the globe. Started on the stove top and finished in the oven, it's a fiery meal best served with rice. Caramelized plantains would be great companions, too.

Take the time to properly brown the meat—it'll build depth as the dish slow-cooks. If you're concerned about the heat level, remove one of the habaneros or replace them with milder peppers, such as jalapeños or serranos. Unfortunately, the fruitiness of the habaneros will be lost. A splash of orange juice helps offset this, but the dish won't be the same.

The flavor of the stew improves the next day. Cool it down before placing it, covered, in the refrigerator. When you're ready to serve, gently reheat the stew on the stove top, garnish with green onions and serve with just cooked rice.

If you need to cut corners, prepared jerk seasoning paste is an acceptable substitute to the spices here. If you use it, omit the allspice, cinnamon, brown sugar, soy sauce, and steak sauce from the recipe. You'll need no more than a tablespoon or so of the paste, so taste as you go.

Recipe Facts

Active: 30 mins
Total: 2 hrs
Serves: 4 servings

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Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 2 1/2 pounds boneless beef stew meat (such as chuck), cut into 1 inch cubes

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • 1 medium white onion, finely chopped

  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 2 habanero chiles, seeded and minced

  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 1/4 cup rum

  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought low-sodium chicken stock

  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce

  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme

  • 2 whole bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, preferably fire roasted

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons steak sauce, such as A-1

  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions

  • 2 cups cooked long-grain white rice

Directions

  1. Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 300°F. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Season beef with salt and pepper. Add beef to pan and cook without moving until well-browned on one side, about 6 minutes. Stir to loosen meat, and add onions and carrots. Cook, stirring, for 2 minutes, reduce heat to medium and add habaneros, garlic and rum. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes before adding chicken broth, allspice, cinnamon, hot pepper sauce, thyme, bay leaves, brown sugar, red wine vinegar, tomatoes, soy sauce, and steak sauce.

  2. Return to a boil, cover, and transfer to oven. Continue cooking until meat is tear-apart-tender when pierced with a fork, about 1 1/2 hours longer.

  3. When stew is done, remove from oven and discard thyme sprigs and bay leaves. If stew is not thick enough, reduce over the stovetop until desired consistency is reached. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately with rice.

Special equipment

Dutch oven