West African Chicken Stew From Well Fed 2

west african paleo chicken stew recipe

Recipe: West African Chicken Stew From Well Fed 2

Forget the dinner plan you had for tonight. Go get some chicken thighs and all of the below ingredients and make yourself this rich, hearty, spicy, warm chicken stew. The recipe comes from Melissa Joulwan’s new cookbook Well Fed 2 and she personally recommended that I make this first. I am so glad she did because not only did we demolish it with loud nom nom noises but I also learnt a new little cooking trick.

A few notes on Well Fed 2 and Melissa’s cooking in general.  I believe that our taste buds were separated at birth. When I look through the recipes in her book – Moo Shu Pork, BBQ Beef  ‘Waffle’ Sandwich, Plantain Nachos, Better Butter, over 15 types of meatballs, bangers and burgers, Lizard Sauce and Pear & Bacon Bites – I think that it’s exactly what I love to eat and how I would cook. Melissa is not big on sweets and neither am I but there are so many multicultural flavours and interesting food combinations that even the sweetest of teeth people will get distracted by her savoury creations. All recipes are Whole30 compliant and would be perfect for anyone avoiding sugar, gluten, grains, dairy and legumes. Each recipe comes with a little story about its origin or ingredients or Melissa’s connection to it – she is a great writer as well as a great cook. I am sure you will be eager to check it out once you try her West African Chicken Stew. You can buy the book on Amazon here and you can find out more about it on Melissa’s website  Clothes Make The Girl where you can discover many more of her tasty dishes. And, as you might have guessed, there is a Well Fed book part one.

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Cooking notes: The recipe below is slightly adapted from the original as I had to replace sunflower butter with cashew butter and I’ve added a couple of other spices as I didn’t have cayenne pepper on hand. Cashew or sunflower butter will really thicken the stew making it super rich and creamy.

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Ingredients

  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 skinless chicken thighs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 medium brown onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tbsp)
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced or minsed (about 1 tbsp)
  • 1/2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground chilli
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 400 grams crashed tomatoes ( 1 1/2 cups or 1 can)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 1/2 tbsp cashew butter (1/4 cup sunflower butter in the original recipe but I didn’t have any)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Cut each chicken thigh into 4-5 pieces and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat a large saucepan, casserole dish or a deep frying pan over medium-high heat and melt the coconut oil. Add chicken pieces and brown well on both sides, about 4-5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken to a bowl, including all the juices.
  2. In the same saucepan, cook the onion and ginger for about 5-6 minutes on low/medium heat. Add garlic, coriander, paprika, chilli, bay leave and cloves and cook for about 30 seconds to release the aromas. Add tomatoes and water and stir to combine. Add the chicken pieces back in, together with the juices, stir and increase the heat to bring the pot to boil. Then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25 minutes with the lid on.
  3. In the original recipe you will remove the chicken from the pot after 25 minutes but I missed that step so I added the cashew or sunflower butter and vanilla to the pot with the chicken in it and mixed to combine and dissolve. Otherwise you would have to add the chicken back in after you’ve added the butter and vanilla. My way worked just fine as well. Stir and cook all together for a few more minutes, uncovered. Taste for seasoning and add a generous pinch of salt if you wish…I did. Sprinkle with fresh parsley or chopped spring onion and extra sunflower or pumpkin seeds.
  4. We served this stew with a side of pan-fried silver beet/chard, green beans, zucchini and carrots.

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 55 minutes

Number of servings: about 3

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Check out my Eat Drink Paleo Cookbook –  a fantastic addition to any kitchen, filled with exclusive recipes, cooking tips and easy guide to paleo. Also just out, the new Rejuvenate program, which I co-authored with a medical nutritionist Claire Yates – it will teach you how to achieve radiance, wellness and longevity through food and holistic living. 

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Comments

  1. slfisher says

    It was ok. It was hard to cut the chicken thighs into pieces because of the bone — is it supposed to say boneless chicken thighs? — and I wasn’t sure which kind of ground chile to use. Perhaps my spices are old but I expected it to have more flavor. I used sunflower butter.

  2. Crystal says

    Made this with chicken breast fillets because that was all I had at home, simmered for 15 minutes instead to prevent it from drying out and it came out wonderfully! The taste of ginger was fairly strong at first but then slowly the flavours all came together and balanced everything out. It was a dinner well enjoyed, thanks for the introduction to African cuisine :)

    • imacri says

      Hi Katherine, most health foods stores would have different nut butters. I have even seen them in the health food sections of the big supermarkets. Or you can make your own by processing nuts in a food processor for 15-20 minutes until they start releasing oils and turn into a thick butter.

  3. Safaa says

    Loved this recipe!! New family favourite. I used the leftover sauce as a marinade for drumsticks and cooked them in the oven. Mmmmmm

  4. says

    Found this through chowstalker and gave it a try last night. Turned out delicious, and I can actually get almost all the ingredients here in rural Northern Laos. Thanks!

  5. Rachael says

    I cannot describe how incredibly good this was. We had it over roasted butternut squash and it was lick the bowl clean (we literally had to tell the 7 year old…ok, AND the 37 year olds to get their faces out of their/our plates because we were getting stew in our hair).

    Used almond butter instead of cashew butter
    After adding the tomatoes, we pureed the veggies making for a really thick stew
    Added mushrooms
    Next time we will add carrots too

    FANTASTIC!!

  6. says

    We had this stew for lunch this week :)
    I used almond butter instead of sunflower seed butter and no cayenne (my husband doesn’t like spicy food) and it was delicious. I served it with the coconut cauliflower rice, also in the book.

      • says

        Aha! Yeah, I thought that was neat. The cashew butter was kind of overpowering in flavour, though. I made it again last night with less and that worked for me.

        Now I want to try the other nut butters my local IGA has too! ;)

  7. Sheridan says

    looks awesome. I know what’s on the menu tonight!
    can you clarify something for me. I’ve been somewhat relaxed paleo for a while now but of late I’ve become a little more strict and I’ve read something very distressing to me. cashews arent paleo!! is this true? the argument I read against them was that they can not b eaten raw (and that even ‘raw’ ones have been cooked to a degree) as they are toxic to the body. I love cashews and it will feel like I’m losing a good friend If I say goodbye to them! haha please debunk this cashew argument! :-)

    • imacri says

      Hi Sheridan,

      As far as I know cashew is a nut just like other tree nuts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew
      Like most other nuts it has quite a bit of phytic acid which can prevent mineral absorption so it’s best to soak them for 6-7 hours before using. You can then dehydrate them back down in the oven on very low heat or blend them into a smooth paste to thicken sauces with or to make a raw, dairy free cheesecake. Mark Sisson has a good little write up about cashews http://www.marksdailyapple.com/is-it-primal-8-foods-scrutinized/#axzz2n8Cpn5UM

      I think the problem is that people tend to buy roasted, salted cashews and gorge on them. A few nuts in s stir-fry or as part of a mixed nut snack is fine. It’s definitely fine if you soak them first, they do get quite soft though.

      I hope that somewhat debunks the cashew argument :)

      Irena

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