CHICKEN MAFE

This stew of chicken and vegetables in a peanut sauce is found throughout West Africa.  It is thought to have originated in Mali. Have an African dinner party.  This is perfect.  Can be made ahead — See below.  This recipe serves six.

chicken.mafe_

11/2 cups unsalted roasted peanuts or a cup of natural creamy peanut butter

3 cups water

4 1/2 to 5 1/2 lb. chicken pieces (drumsticks, thighs, breast halves)

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper , chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 (14 to 16 oz.) can diced tomatoes including juice

1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne

2 teaspoons salt

1 1/2 lb. sweet potatoes , peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

4 medium turnips peeled if desired, halved horizontally and cut into 3/4 inch wedges

1 lb. spinach, coarse stens discarded

Serve with rice.

Preheat oven to 325 F. If using peanuts, blend in food processor until they form a butter, to to 3 minutes.  Put fresh or jarred peanut butter in a bowl and gradually whisk in 1 1/2 cups water.

Pat chicken dry and season with salt.  Heat oil in an overproof 4 to 5 quart heavy pot (with tight fitting lid for later use) over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, uncovered in 3 or 4 batches without crowding, about 6 minutes. Transfer chicken to a bowl as browned. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of fat from pot, then add onion and bell pepper and saute, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to brown, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and saute stirring, 1 minute.

Stir in peanut butter mixture, remaining 1  1/2 cups water, tomatoes with any juice, cayenne (to taste), salt, and chicken with any juices accumulated in bowl and bring to a simmer.  Cover pot with lid, then braise chicken in middle of oven until tender, about 45 minutes to one hour.  Transfer chicken with tongs to a large  (4 quart) serving dish to keep warm.

Stir potatoes and turnips into sauce and simmer on top of stove, uncovered until vegetable are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.  Transfer cooked vegetables with a slotted spoon to serving dish.

Simmer sauce, uncovered, stirring, until reduced to about 4 cups, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in spinach, let stand, partially covered , until spinach is wilted , 2 to 3 minutes.  Season with salt if needed.  Spoon over chicken.

Chicken can be braised in sauce without vegetables a day ahead.  Cool, uncovered, then chill, covered.  Reheat chicken in sauce, then transfer chicken to serving dish before proceeding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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is found throughout WestAfrica