Senegal: Chicken with Coconut Milk and Peanuts.

I am starting with Senegal for no reason other than it seemed like a good, easy recipe for what promised to be a cold, snowy night. According to Wikipedia, Senegalese cuisine is influenced by nations like France, Portugal, and those of North Africa. Primary staples of the Senegalese diet include peanuts, fish, chicken, lamb, sweet potatoes, rice, couscous, lentils, and black-eyed peas. Meats and vegetables are stewed or marinated, and poured over rice or eaten with bread. As such, this recipe fits the mold for Senegalese food.

Senegalese-Style Chicken with Coconut Milk and Peanuts (nabbed from Recipes at
-1 4 lb. chicken, excess fat removed and discarded, cut into 8 pieces (two half breasts, each cut crosswise in half; 2 thighs, 2 drumsticks, 2 wings) **Note: I bought 8 chicken thighs, which worked just as well. And, because I didn't read the recipe closely, I removed all the skin and excess fat. I guess you're not 'supposed' to remove the skin, but it still turned out great and I saved a lot of fat calories. So, I say--remove the skin!**
-2 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
-1 medium onion, finely chopped
-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
-2 jalapeno chiles, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
-1 tablespoon curry powder
-1 cup chicken broth
-5 medium tomatoes, cut in half, inner fleshy/seedy stuff removed, chopped coarsely (or substitute 28oz can whole tomatoes, drained and chopped--but I think fresh tomatoes were worth it)
-1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I think you could use light coconut milk and it would still work)
-1/3 cup smooth, natural peanut butter
-3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
-2 tablespoons lime juice
-*Optional: I added a whole zucchini, sliced length-wise and chopped into half-moon slices. It was REALLY tasty. I think a red pepper would be great, too. Ya gotta get in veggies where you can, right?

1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Brown in oil in a skillet over medium-high heat about 8 minutes per side, or until golden-brown on both sides. Take the chicken out of the pan and reserve.

2. Pour all but 1 tablespoon of oil out of the pan used for browning the chicken. Stir in the onions, garlic, and jalapenos (and other veggies, if you so choose). Cook over medium heat, stirring every minute or two, until onions turn translucent (10 minutes or so). Stir in the curry powder and cook for 1 more minute.

3. Add the chicken broth and tomatoes, simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk. With a ladle, remove half of this mixture and place in a bowl. In the bowl, add the peanut butter and whisk until combined. Reserve.

4. Put the chicken into the remaining liquid in the pan. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until firm to the touch. **NOTE: I'm not sure on what planet the meat only needs 10 minutes more. I assumed the recipe was correct, because the meat looked cooked and was firm to the touch. Sadly, once I was sitting down with my food, I cut into the chicken and it was still red inside. I returned it to the pan and 'simmered' (read: boiled) it for 30 minutes. THEN it was thoroughly cooked and very yummy and tender. So, please use your best discretion with this step!**

5. Arrange the chicken pieces in individual bowls (over rice, if you choose).

6. Whisk the peanut sauce into the pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer. Add in the cilantro and lime juice, stirring well. Season to taste with salt and pepper, simmer for 1 minute more. Ladle over chicken in to the bowls.

Rice (my recipe):
-1 1/2 cups uncooked jasmine rice
-2 1/2 cups water
-1/2 cup coconut milk
-A few healthy shakes of salt
-Couple dashes of pepper
-Depending on how spicy you like your rice, a few good shakes of cayenne pepper

1. Pour all ingredients into a rice cooker, stirring well.
2. Let the rice cooker do all the heavy lifting for you. :)

Verdict: I had to use the cilantro-in-a-tube recipe from the thai salad. I've come to the conclusion that cilantro-in-a-tube sucks. It has this weird flavor that real cilantro doesn't have. I think that if I'd used real cilantro, the dish would've been 100% awesome. I may also use only 1 tablespoon of lime juice next time. AND, I thought it would be a fast recipe, but it took over an hour and a half (lots of prep work, extra cooking times). Still, this was a very good, warming dish for when it's very cold outside.

1 country down, 49 to go!


Nino said...

This was really yummy, despite the near-brush with food poisoning. ;)

Tin said...

i tried this, i was not able to put in all the ingredients required.. nevertheless it was pretty yummy!... i think what made it yummy as well is that i used a very yummy homemade peanut butter! :)

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