West African Chicken Yassa

By Angelika Hanna

Today I am taking you on a culinary journey to Africa. Chicken Yassa is a Senegalese dish and popular throughout the entire West African region.

I discovered this Chicken Yassa while I was browsing for a different chicken recipe from the usual North American ones. I was looking for something with an exotic twist, easy to prepare and made with ingredients that are available in our local grocery stores in Canada. This delicious Chicken Yassa met all the above criteria.

Recipe:

Prep Time: 30 min + marinating time

Cook Time: 1 hr 30 min

Total Time: Approx. 2 hrs

Yield: 3-5 servings

Cuisine: Senegalese (West African)

Author: Angelika Hanna / Zest4Food

Ingredients:

  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into chunks (drum sticks or thighs work as well in this dish)
  • 5 cooking onions – YES, a lot of onions which is the signature of this dish!
  • 1 Habanero or Scotch Bonnet pepper, sliced
  • 1 orange or yellow bell pepper (I used the orange one), cut into strips
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Black or green olives, sliced

Marinade:

  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice

Whisk your marinade.

Instructions:

  1. Marinate the chicken: Place the chicken, onions and the peppers into a large bowl. Pour the whisked marinade on top and toss well to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours. (The longer you let it marinate, the more intense the taste of your dish will be.)
  2. Brown the chicken: In a large oven-proof pot, heat some oil over medium-high heat. Remove the chicken from the marinate, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and place it in the pot to brown on all sides. Transfer to a plate. Remove excess fat but leave enough in the pot for the vegetables to caramalize.
  3. Caramalize the vegetables: Pour the vegetables including the marinade in the pot and cook over medium-high heat for approx. 5 min. stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to medium-low. Cover with the lid and let the vegetables cook for approx. 5-10 min until the onions are translucent to slightly brown. You can determine how well you want your onions caramalized.
  4. Move the vegetables in the pot aside as you lay the chicken into the bottom of the pot, then place the vegetables on top.
  5. Pour in chicken broth.
  6. Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the broth to a simmer.
  7. Cover the pot with the lid and put it in the pre-heated oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  8. Cook for approx. 1 hour and 20 minutes.
  9. Once the dish is done cooking, place the sliced olives of your choice on top. (I used black olives; green olives work just as well)

Serve with rice.

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