This recipe delivers a flavoursome West African stew with slow-cooked herbed chicken in a rich, spicy tomato sauce
If you ask any West African to mention five of the most popular foods in West Africa, I bet that tomato stew will be mentioned by all the respondents. A rather unsurprising and predictable outcome, I would think! Because stews are very much interwoven into the culinary fabric of West Africa. Every respectable household usually has a pot of soup or stew on-the-go. Stews are integral to the traditional African diet, and are consumed daily by many.
Lets talk about this African stew for a minute. This stew is flavoursome – a basic characteristic of most African stews. Take this Moroccan chicken stew spiced with dukkah a case-in-point. Oozing with flavour! But back to this African stew, which is as versatile as it is flavoursome. Versatile enough to be prepared with any kind of meat. Popular variants include beef stew, chicken stew, fish stew, snail stew.
And versatile enough to transcends categorisation.
And by that, I mean that this stew is decadent enough to make the special occasions menu. In fact, in most parts of Africa, no Christmas feast is complete without a pot of this African stew. At least not in my household where I grew up in Southern Nigeria. Paradoxically, this stew is humble enough to play the role of a humble staple, tucked away in the refrigerator for emergency situations… such as unannounced visits from hordes of relatives.
You can serve it as an accompaniment to just about any other African staple foods such as gari, millet, plantain and rice. Or as a side dish for some African soups like okra soup, where they serve as flavour enhancers.
African stews are easy to make. And this recipe essentially comes down to simmering a blend of tomatoes, onions and bell peppers with spices to achieve a sauce that is hearty and flavoursome. But this is one recipe that is so easy to get wrong. A good African stew should be full-bodied, and a perfect balance of all the flavours. A common rookie mistake is when the stew is cooked in a way that allows the tomatoes to overwhelm the rest of the ingredients. To achieve the perfect African stew, there’s just three steps you absolutely need to take;
Roast Your Vegetables – if you want to dial up the flavour of the peppers and tomatoes exponentially, then this step is a must!
Brown Your Chicken – browning the chicken teases out the flavours out of the meat, and you are rewarded with a stew packed with flavour.
Simmer! Simmer! Simmer!
So now we are ready to go, here’s the recipe below. Have fun making this..
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