Cëebu Jen Recipe from Senegal
250g black-eyed beans (with a few black beans added to approximate the colour of native African cowpeas)
2 small cabbages
1 medium aubergine
2 medium carrots, halved and cut lengthways
3 Scotch Bonnet chillies
250g French beans 'topped and tailed'
3 x Maggi cubes
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
2 chickens, quartered
1 tbsp whole black peppercorns
8 garlic cloves
1 large bunch curly parsley, washed and roughly chopped
5 Maggi cubes
300g cassava peeled and cut into large chunks
1/2 tsp baking soda.
1 tbps chilli paste (made by pounding 12 Scotch bonnet chillies and 1/2 onion, sliced to a paste in a pestle and mortar)
lime wedges to garnish
Put the black-eyed beans (and black beans) in a large pot and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil and cook for about 50 minutes, or until the beans are soft. When done take off the heat and allow to cool in the cooking liquid. Meanwhile chop and mix the vegetables and season with the Maggi cubes, salt and black pepper.
Add the garlic and black peppercorns to a pestle and mortar and pound to a paste. Add half the parsley, half a Maggi cube and pound to incorporate. Use this paste to stuff into he chicken pieces (placing it under the skin). Season with the remaining Maggi cube half and place in a large pot. Cover the pot, place on a medium flame and allow to cook slowly for about 20 minutes then take off the heat.
Heat a 2cm depth of oil in a large pan. Add the chicken pieces to this and fry until done, turning them every few minutes. When the chicken is done (About 20 minutes), add the baking soda to the oil and use it to fry the vegetables. Add 1 tbsp chilli paste and cover the pot, allowing the vegetables to cook for about 10 minutes.
At this time drain the black-eyed beans (reserving the cooking liquid) and add to the other vegetables. Allow to cook for a further 10 minutes then add about 500ml water and 500ml of the bean cooking liquid and bring the mixture to a boil. Season with 2 Maggi cubes, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp black pepper. Allow to cook for some 30 minutes before adding the chicken pieces. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for a further 20 minutes then lift the chicken and vegetables into a separate pot along with 2 large ladlefuls of the cooking liquid. Leave about half the beans behind if you can.
Return the cooking liquid to a pot, bring to a boil and use this to cook your rice. You will need about 500g of rice and 1l of liquid (add more of the bean cooking liquid if you don't have enough). Cook until the rice is done and all the liquid has been absorbed.
Cëebu Jen is traditionally eaten as a shared dish. To serve arrange the rice over the serving tray and spoon the chicken and vegetables over the top and garnish with lime wedges. These should be squeezed over the dish when ready to eat. Simply give everyone a spoon and let them tuck in. The dish can also be eaten with the hands. Roll the rice into balls and eat.
Please note that this recipe is my wife's original recipe and it cannot be copied without permission. It is proffered as a 'thank you' to all who have contributed to and helped with the One Million People Campaign. If you enjoyed this recipe, then please consider making a donation yourself. Only $1, if enough donate, can make a real difference to those who have nothing...
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