A vibrant and flavorful dish from Belize, characterized by its rich blend of spices and a unique, slightly sweet and tangy flavor. This stew is a staple in Belizean cuisine and features tender chicken pieces simmered in a savory sauce made with recado or annatto paste, giving it a distinctive red hue.


  • 1 kg chicken pieces (thighs and drumsticks work well)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons recado rojo (annatto paste) or annatto powder
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (400g) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 habanero pepper, seeded and minced (optional for heat)
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped for garnish


  1. Marinate the Chicken: In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the recado rojo until evenly coated. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Cook the Chicken: In a large pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken and cook until browned on all sides, about 5-7 minutes per side. Remove the chicken and set aside.
  3. Sauté Vegetables: In the same pot, add onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  4. Simmer the Stew: Return the chicken to the pot. Add diced tomatoes, chicken broth, thyme, cumin, allspice, salt, pepper, and habanero pepper if using. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for about 30 minutes.
  5. Final Touches: Stir in brown sugar and lime juice. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  6. Serve: Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice or your choice of side.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

  • Calories: 330
  • Fat: 18g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Protein: 30g

Prep and Cooking Time

  • Prep Time: 15 minutes (plus 30 minutes marinating)
  • Cooking Time: 50 minutes


  • Serves: 4-6 people

Belizean Chicken Stew is a delightful and hearty dish, packed with flavors that reflect the culinary heritage of Belize. The unique blend of spices and

the tanginess from the lime juice create a taste profile that’s both exotic and comforting. It’s a wonderful way to bring the flavors of Central America to your kitchen. Enjoy this stew with rice, tortillas, or your favorite side for a complete and satisfying meal!

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