(Ivoirian stewed chicken and vegetables)
For the Ivoirian dish of kedjenou, chicken and vegetables are slow-cooked in a well-sealed pot with little or no added liquid. The resulting dish has a full-flavored concentration of the chicken's essence and meltingly tender meat.
4 to 6 servings
- Chicken, cut into serving pieces -- 2 to 3 pounds
- Eggplant, peeled and cubed -- 1 large
- Tomatoes, seeded and chopped -- 2 or 3
- Onions, thinly sliced -- 2
- Hot chile peppers, chopped -- 2 or 3
- Garlic, minced -- 2 or 3 cloves
- Ginger, minced -- 1 tablespoon
- Thyme -- 1 teaspoon
- Bay leaf -- 1
- Salt and pepper -- to season
- Preheat oven to 325°F. Add all the ingredients to a large oven-proof pot with a tight-fitting lid. Cover the pot with one or two layers of aluminum foil and place the lid on top of the foil.
- Place the pot in the oven and bake for 2 to 3 hours. Remove the pot from the oven occasionally and shake it to keep the chicken from sticking.
- Remove the pot from the oven. Let it rest for about 10 minutes. Serve hot with couscous, attiéké (see note), rice or boiled yams.
Kedjenou Notes and Variations
- Attiéké is a couscous-like side dish made from grated and fermented cassava. Instant boxed versions can be found in many Middle Eastern or African ethnic markets.
- Kedjenou can also be cooked on the stovetop. Bring the ingredients to a simmer over medium heat. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. You will need to shake it a little more often than the oven-baked version to keep it from sticking.
- Lower-fat Version: Remove the skin from the chicken and add 2 or 3 tablespoons of peanut oil.
- Some (mostly French) recipes call for first browning the chicken in peanut oil and sauteing the onions. While this adds flavor to the dish, it is not strictly authentic.
- You can add 1/2 cup water or chicken stock to the pot at the beginning if it looks way too dry. The tomatoes should give off enough liquid though that this shouldn't be necessary.