Wednesday, February 6, 2008

African Chicken

A few weeks ago my friend Jenni made a bunch o’ food and brought it down to us for some easy meals as I sit around and wait for my bones to mend (and to give Jack a break from cooking duties every now and then). One of the dishes she brought was one that we were both familiar with, a Cooking Light recipe from a year or so ago. African Chicken in Red Sauce is one of those valuable recipes that can be easily doubled and the extras frozen, then reheated, with very little loss of it’s delicious flavor.

Pieces of chicken are simmered in a tomato-y, spicy sauce. What sets this recipe apart is the spice blend called Berbere. It originated in Ethiopia and is a mix of ground red and black peppers, ginger, cinnamon, and cloves. Also in the sauce is fresh ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom, and all of these wonderful flavors dance together and create a wonderfully exotic flavor. There is plenty of sauce, so the chicken is perfect to serve over basmati rice or couscous.

Jenni used all bone-in, skinless chicken breasts and, after the mixture was cooked and cooled, pulled the meat from the bones and tossed it back into the sauce. I’ve made this recipe using boneless, skinless chicken breasts and have to admit that using the bone-in, although an extra couple of steps, proved to be better since the meat was more tender and flavorful.

I have served this with a side of lemon broccoli and also with garlic sautéed spinach and the flavors of both went well with the chicken and sauce.

One more thought. At the end of the recipe are instructions to serve this dish with lemon wedges for adding fresh lemon juice to each portion. Lemons are expensive here, especially in fall and winter (75¢ each, and they are none too big either), so I usually skip this. However, I just happened to have a lemon in the refrigerator, left over from the holidays, which had seen better days so we used a couple of wedges. This added a bright, tangy note to the chicken and I think that I will always buy a lemon whenever I plan to make this in the future because it just shouldn’t be served without.

African Chicken in Spicy Red Sauce

2 chicken breast halves, skinned (about 1/2 pound)
2 chicken drumsticks, skinned (about 1/2 pound)
2 chicken thighs, skinned (about 3/4 pound)
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon)
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion (2 medium)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons Berbere
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 (14-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 (6-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato paste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
4 lemon wedges

Place chicken in a shallow dish; drizzle with juice, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cover and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes (do not brown), stirring frequently. Add 2 teaspoons Berbere, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, butter, ginger, nutmeg, and cardamom; cook 1 minute. Add wine, broth, and tomato paste; stir until well blended. Add chicken mixture; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 50 minutes or until chicken is tender, turning chicken occasionally. Stir in cilantro. Serve with lemon wedges.

Note: Nutritional analysis includes 1 teaspoon Berbere per serving.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 3 ounces chicken, about 1 cup sauce, and 1 lemon wedge)

CALORIES 373 (24% from fat); FAT 9.8g (sat 3.6g,mono 2.7g,poly 1.8g); PROTEIN 53.2g; CHOLESTEROL 175mg; CALCIUM 72mg; SODIUM 848mg; FIBER 3.6g; IRON 4mg; CARBOHYDRATE 17.3g
Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2006


2 tablespoons ground red pepper
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Yield: 1/4 cup (serving size: 1 teaspoon)


KristiB said...

Yum! This sounds right up my alley!

Karen said...

Hi there,
I'm so glad you and your husband enjoyed the spicy nuts mix. Weren't they absolutely divine with dried cherries? I'm really sorry to hear about your accident and limited mobility. I hope you're on your feet again soon. Your life on a farm sounds like my dream. I would love to restore a farmhouse! I wish you a speedy recovery and thank you so much for reading my blog.

Nicolette (Nikki) Miller-Ka said...

My husband is from Senegal, west Africa and you've inspired me to make an "African Fish" using your recipe. And I hope your foot is healing well :)

Kitchen Queen Victoria said...

Kristi, yep... Global Cuisine! :)

Karen, I made him another batch for Valentines Day. I was able to actually eat some of this one!

Nikki, please let me know what type of fish you use-- I never thought of it, but fish would be really good in this sauce. Thanks for the idea!