Monday, April 25, 2011

West African Peanut Sauce

2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cubed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
4 small tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
4 Tablespoons peanut paste*
1 good bunch of oseille leaves, discard stems (or spinach)
1 green bell pepper, quartered
4 hot peppers (in Niger, we use the little tonkoté peppers, but any hot pepper will do)
4 shallots, cubed (substitute 1 onion)
1/4 Maggi cube

- Put the chicken in a medium-sized pot and barely cover it with water. Add the black pepper, salt, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Once it reaches a boil, remove the chicken and water from the pot and set aside in a bowl. Do not discard the water!

- Lower the stovetop temperature to medium low. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, peanut paste, minced garlic, and 1/2 liter of water to the empty pot and stir well to combine. Bring this mixture to a boil, stirring periodically to prevent burning. Continue boiling until the oil begins to separate and you can see it pooling on the top of the sauce.

- In the meantime, cover the leaves with boiling water in a medium-sized bowl. This brings out the flavor. Set aside until you are ready to use them.

- Once the oil has separated from the sauce, pour the chicken water through a sieve into the sauce and add the chicken cubes.

- Strain the leaves and squeeze out any excess water.

- Add about 1/3 liter of water, onions, bell pepper, hot pepper, leaves, and Maggi cube to the sauce. Bring to a boil and cook for several minutes, or until thickened.

- Serve with rice or couscous.

*Western style peanut butter is too sweet, try the freshly ground peanut butter from Whole Foods.

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