|Buys yams at the outdoor market|
This dish makes me happy because it is one of many dishes that I learned to cook, as a young American bride, marrying into a vibrant, loving, tight-knit Nigerian family.
|Shopping for spices in a Nigerian marketplace|
With no cookbooks to reference, I have watched and practiced, tasted and experimented, first learning to make the dishes exactly like the women I learned from.
|Good thing I have sisters to help sort out what I need to buy|
Now, with years of stews, soups, and meat pies under my belt, I can make these dishes my own. This is my version of a Nigerian Style Chicken Stew.
Nigerian Style Chicken Stew
One whole chicken
1 small red onion
1 habenero (or other spicy) pepper, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder
2 teaspoons dried or fresh thyme
½ teaspoon chili powder
¼ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons of olive oil
1-2 pounds of tomatoes*
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
a pinch of sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
*If tomatoes are in season, use fresh paste tomatoes, such as Roma or San Marzano. If tomatoes are not in season, I recommend using a canned tomato, such as Muir Glen. A half dozen tomatoes will be about equal to a large (28 ounce) can.
First, prepare the whole chicken for the soup pot. Butcher the chicken into the typical eight pieces: wings, breasts, thighs, and legs. Remove the skin from the breasts and thighs, and discard the extra fat and skin. Then, cut the wings into two pieces at the middle joint. Cut the legs and thighs in half, right through the bone, using a heavy cleaver. Cut the breast pieces into three pieces. If you are not squeamish, cut the back into three pieces, and add the back and the neck into the pot as well.
Place all of the chicken into a large soup pot, and begin to heat over medium-high heat. Slice half of the onion into large pieces and add it to the chicken pot with the spices. Turn the meat, to evenly distribute the spices. Continue to cook the chicken, turning regularly. When the skin begins to color, add one and a half cups of water, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to medium, and continue to simmer.
|I removed the skins of these tomatoes to make stew for the baby - this is not at all necessary|
After the chicken has been cooking for about 30 minutes, begin to prepare the tomato base for the stew. Using a food processor or blender, blend the tomatoes, the other half of the onion, and the basil, until minced finely. Heat the olive oil in a medium sauce pan on medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and cook for a few seconds, until fragrant. Add the blended tomatoes and basil, sugar and salt. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer for twenty minutes.
|the tomatoes will begin to look dry|
After twenty minutes, the tomatoes should begin to look a bit dry. It is now time to combine the chicken and the tomato. Begin by ladling the broth from the chicken pot, into the tomato pot, stirring to incorporate. Then, add the chicken pieces, stirring to coat in the tomato-broth sauce. Taste the stew. Add more chili powder, or more salt, if needed. Return to the heat, and simmer for an additional ten minutes. Serve with steamed rice.
|Me, almost exactly one year ago, making stew to eat after the baby is born|