Friday, February 21, 2014

Foodie Fridays: Palaver Chicken

Photo by *sweetomato* on Food.com

When we lived in Colorado, we occasionally ate at a favorite Ethiopian restaurant in Denver.  This got me interested in African cooking, and I bought a book called Flavors of Africa Cookbook: Spicy African Cooking to learn more.  I should have known from the subtitle that most of the recipes would be a bit too hot for my poor taste buds (I am truly a wimp when it comes to spicy food!), but a few are a little less intense, including this recipe for Palaver Chicken.  According to the cookbook, it is based on a dish called Palaver Sauce from Ghana, which was originally made with fish.  Apparently the word "palaver" means "quarrel", and there are various explanations as to the origin of this name, my favorite being that no one could agree on the exact ingredients to use!  I don't think anyone will argue when it comes to eating this chicken stew, however, as it is quite delicious and a worthy addition to any recipe collection.

Palaver Chicken

1 1/2 lbs. chicken tenders
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. butter
2 T. vegetable oil
1 onion, diced
1 can (14 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice (or 4 tomatoes, diced)
2 T. peanut butter
2 C. chicken stock
1 sprig fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried)
1 bag (6 oz.) baby spinach
1 can (4 oz.) diced green chilies (or 2 jalapeños, seeded and diced)

Cut the chicken tenders into thirds diagonally.  In a large bowl, combine the chicken with the garlic and season to taste.  Heat the butter in a large skillet over medium heat and brown the chicken pieces, turning once or twice for even browning.  Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside.

Heat the oil in the skillet and sauté the onion over medium-high heat for about five minutes until soft.  Reduce the heat and add the tomatoes, peanut butter and half of the stock.  Stir until well blended.  Heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add the remaining stock and the spinach.  Cook and stir a few minutes longer until the spinach wilts.  Season to taste.  Stir in the chilies and chicken and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  Remove the thyme sprig.  Serve with rice.  Serves 4-6.

Note: Since I used canned chilies, which are very mild, I stirred in 1/4 tsp. cayenne for a little heat that was not too overwhelming for me.  And like most stews, this dish is even better when cooled and reheated.
               

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