Here is a very interesting chicken recipe from the Caribbean that is remarkably similar to many recipes from West Africa. Chicken cooked in a spicy sauce thickened and flavoured with peanut butter.
Yes, this is an authentic Caribbean recipe, though I did a double take as well when I first saw this dish. Not nearly as hot as it's West African equivalents, this is a tasty and filling stew that is full of flavour and well worth taking the time to prepare.
Caribbean Peanut ChickenServes: 4
I admit to really doing a double-take when I first saw this recipe, as it seems so much more West African than Caribbean, and it shows very well the parallels between the two cuisines. However, the Caribbean version is cooked to finish whilst the West African version (Senegalese tiebudjenn would be a classic example) is cooked on the hob in a pot.
Ingredients:4 chicken breast fillets, skinned and sliced into thin strips
225g (1/2 lb) white long-grain rice
2 tbsp groundnut oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, finely chopped
2 ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, de-seeded and chopped
1 fresh green chilli, sliced (in Jamaica a green Scotch bonnet is used, which I love, bit it's too hot for most tastes)
4 tbsp smooth peanut butter
450ml (2 cups less 2 tbsp) chicken stock
lemon juice, to taste
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
lime wedges, to garnish
sprigs of flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
For the Marinade:1 tbsp sunflower oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp medium curry powder
juice of 1/2 lemon
Method:Begin with the marinade. Simply combine all the ingredients in a bowl. Stir in the chicken then cover with clingfilm (plastic wrap) and set aside to marinate in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Bring a pan of lightly-salted water to a boil. Rinse the rice, add to the pan and cook for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain the rice then turn into a buttered casserole dish.
When the chicken has marinated sufficiently, heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a flame-proof casserole with the butter. When the mixture has stopped foaming add the chicken pieces and fry for about 5 minutes, or until nicely and evenly browned.
Turn the chicken onto a plate. Add the remaining oil to the casserole and use to fry the onion for about 5 minutes, or until soft and very lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and the chilli and continue cooking over low heat for about 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a jug, mix the peanut butter with the water until smooth. Stir in the fried tomato and onion mixture then add the chicken pieces. Finally stir lemon juice to taste, then season to taste.
Pour this mixture over the rice in the casserole. Cover the casserole dish with a tight-fitting lid, then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC (350ºF, Gas Mark 4) and bake for about 20 minutes, or until piping hot and cooked through.
When ready, remove from the oven then use a large spoon to toss the rice mixture. Turn into a warmed dish and serve immediately, garnished with lime wedges and sprigs of flat-leaf parsley.
Based on my experience with West African cookery, firm fish would work in this dish just as well as chicken.