African-Style Chicken with Squash

African-Style Chicken with Squash

This recipe uses many of the flavors of East African cooking. We have provided a simple spice rub for everyday use, as well as a more authentic, more complex spice paste inspired by the classic berbere of Ethiopia. You might want to first try the simpler version, then make the East African mix when you feel like spending some time with your spices. With the chicken, squash, and ginger, this creates a one-pot dinner that is both earthy and rich; for a slightly sour finish, we throw some lemon juice in the pot, which I think works well with the ginger. Serves 4 as entrée.

3 tablespoons paprika
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 cup oil (approximately)
1 3 1/2-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced ginger
1 butternut or 2 small acorn squash, peeled and cut in to small chunks
2 ripe tomatoes, diced small
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock
1/4 cup lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

1. Make the spice rub: In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix well. Rub the chicken pieces well with the spice mix, reserving about 1/4 cup. (You may substitute the more complex East African Spice Mix No. 3.)

2. Heat the oil in a large, wide stockpot over low heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the chicken pieces and cook slowly (resisting the temptation to turn the heat to high, which would burn the spice rub) until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes, adding a bit more oil if needed. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the onions to the pan in which the chicken was cooked, turn the heat to medium high, and cook until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook, stiring occasionally, for 1 additional minute.

4. Add the squash, tomatoes, and chicken stock, along with the browned chicken, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a peek inside one of the chicken pieces shows no traces of pink.

5. Add the lemon juice, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

From: Big Flavors of the Hot Sun by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby
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