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JOLLOF RICE (West Africa)
Rice with Chicken, Beef and Ham

To serve 6

2 to 2 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
1 pound lean boneless beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons peanut or vegetable oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
3 medium-sized firm ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1 fresh hot chili, about 3 inches long, stemmed, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 medium-sized bay leaf
2 cups chicken or beef stock, fresh or canned
2 cups water
1/2 pound lean boneless smoked ham, trimmed of fat and cut into 1/4-inch dice
1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice

Pat the pieces of chicken and beef dry with paper towels, and
sprinkle them on all sides with the salt and a few grindings of
pepper. In a heavy 3- to 4-quart casserole, heat 3 tablespoons of
the oil over moderate heat until a light haze forms above it.
Brown the chicken in the hot a few pieces at a time, starting them
skin side down and turning them from time to time with tongs. As
they brown, transfer the pieces to a plate. Add 3 more tablespoons
of oil to the casserole and brown the beef in 2 or 3 batches,
turning the pieces frequently and regulating the heat so that they
color richly and evenly without burning. Add the beef to the
chicken and set aside.

Pour off all but a thin film of fat from the casserole and drop in
the onions. Stirring and scraping in the browned particles that
cling to the bottom and sides of the pan, cook for about 5 minutes,
or until the onions are soft and lightly colored. Watch carefully
for any sign of burning and regulate the heat accordingly. Add
the tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, chili, ginger and bay leaf.
Raise the heat to high and, still stirring, cook for 5 minutes, or
until most of the liquid in the pan has evaporated and the mixture
is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in a spoon.

Stir in the stock and water, and return the beef to the casserole.
Add the ham and turn the meats about in the sauce until the pieces
are evenly coated. Bring to a boil again, then reduce the heat to
low and simmer partially covered for about 30 minutes. Add the
chicken and the liquid that has accumulated around it, baste it
with the sauce, and simmer for 10 minutes longer. Then gently stir
in the rice. Return the mixture to a simmer, cover partially, and
cook for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the beef is tender and almost
all of the liquid in the pan has been absorbed by the rice. Remove
the casserole from the heat, cover tightly, and let the rice rest
for 15 minutes before serving.

Jollof rice is traditionally served with hot boiled cabbage or
spinach and slices of hard-cooked eggs.

Stewed Chicken with Peanut-and-Tomato Sauce

To serve 6

5 to 6-pound chicken, cut into 12 or more pieces
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1/2 cup peanut oil
1 cup finely chopped onions
5 medium-sized firm ripe tomatoes, coarsely chopped and pureed
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dried ground shrimp
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1/4 teaspoon finely grated, scraped fresh ginger root
1/2 teaspoon ground hot red pepper
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
6 cups boiling water
1/4 cup coarsely crumbled dried small fish, if available
2 whole fresh hot chiles, each about 3 inches long
1 cup peanut butter and 1 cup cold water beaten until smooth
12 large fresh okra, washed and stemmed, or 12 frozen okra
6 hard-cooked eggs

Pat the chicken completely dry with paper towels. Combine the salt
and ground ginger, and rub the mixture evenly over each piece of
chicken. In a heavy 5- to 6-quart casserole, heat the oil over
moderate heat until it is very hot but not smoking. Brown the
chicken in the hot oil, 3 or 4 pieces at a time, turning the pieces
frequently with the tongs and regulating the heat so that they
color richly and evenly without burning. As they brown, transfer
the pieces to a plate. Discard all but about 1/4 cup of the oil
remaining in the pan and drop in the chopped onions. Stirring
frequently and scraping the browned particles from the bottom of
the pan, cook the onions for about 5 minutes, until they are soft
and translucent. Watch carefully for any sign of burning and reduce
the heat if necessary. Add the pureed tomatoes, tomato paste,
ground shrimp (if available), garlic, ginger root, red pepper and
white pepper. Raise the heat to high and stir until the mixture
comes to a boil. Then reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered
for 5 minutes. Stirring constantly, pour in the boiling water in
a thin stream and add the dried fish (if available) and the whole
chilies. Return the chicken and any liquid accumulated around it
to the casserole, and turn the pieces about with a spoon until they
are evenly coated. Cook uncovered over low heat for 15 minutes.

Stir in the peanut-butter paste and the okra, and continue cooking
uncovered for about 1 hour, or until the chicken is tender and the
dark meat shows no resistance when pierced with the point of a
small, sharp knife. Add the hard-cooked eggs and simmer for 4 or
5 minutes, or until the eggs are heated through. Serve the stew
at once, directly from the casserole or mounded attractively in a
heated bowl or deep platter, accompanied by as many of the garnishes
as you like.

1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
1/2 cup coarsely chopped unsalted roasted peanuts
Diced tomato salad
Spiced okra
Avocado salad with ginger
Fried plantain cubes
Diced ripe papaya
Yam fufu (below)

FUFU (West Africa)
Yam Paste Balls
makes about ten 1 1/2-inch balls

1 1/2 pounds yam
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt

With a sharp knife, slice the yam crosswise into 1/2- inch-thick
rounds and then peel each slice, cutting 1/8 to 1/4 inch deep into
the flesh to remove all the skin. As you peel the yam, drop the
slices into a bowl of cold water to prevent discoloration. Combine
the yam, water and salt in a heavy 2- to 3-quart saucepan and bring
to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan
tightly, and cook for 30 to 45 minutes, or until the yam is tender
enough to be mashed with a fork. Drain the yam slices in a large
sieve or colander. Then puree them through a food mill set over
a large, heavy earthenware or metal bowl. Using an up-and-down
motion, pound the yam vigorously with a large pestle or the smooth
side of a wooden kitchen mallet. After four or five strokes, dip
the pestle or mallet into cold water to keep the yam moist as you
pound and to prevent it from sticking to the pestle. Repeat for
about 10 minutes, or until the yam forms a compact but slightly
sticky paste. To shape the fufu into balls, fill a mixing bowl
with cold water and set it beside a large, flat plate. Sprinkle
a little water on the plate and moisten your hands lightly. Lift
up about 1/4 cup of yam paste and roll it between your palms and
across the plate until it is a smooth, firm ball and its surface
appears shiny and somewhat translucent. (Moisten your hands and
the plate again from time to time if necessary.)

Arrange the yam fufu balls attractively on a platter and serve at
once, or cover them tightly with foil or plastic wrap and set them
aside at room temperature for up to 2 hours before serving. In
West Africa fufu is also made from cassava, cocoyam or plantain
and is a standard accompaniment to spicy soups, stews and sauces
such as chicken-groundnut stew or mokoto.


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