Enchant with Lerato’s Sexy Chicken Stew

By Lerato Umah-Shaylor |   05 August 2016   |   3:45 am  

This stew is sexy because it is so effortless and yet enchanting. It is just right for lunch, supper, or even ‘date night’ when you want to prepare a mind blowing dish but don’t have a lot of time to tinker about in the kitchen. You need to be an expert in chopping your ingredients and chucking them all into a baking tray or dish. If you decide not to do a lot of chopping, that’s okay too. I prefer not to blend tomatoes, peppers and onions for my stew because I rather enjoy a lot of texture in my food. Besides roasting, this is also one of my favourite ways to cook chicken, because of the bold flavours, otherwise birds can be quite boring.

This is one of my most cooked dishes, because as a typical Nigerian, I do love stew, and for as long as I can remember I have used canned chopped or plum tomatoes. Growing up in London, fresh tomatoes are often not as juicy, except the cherry tomato variety, and I experienced the same in Nigeria. After cooking with wonderful Jos tomatoes in the north, not having suffered the long trip to the south, I have never truly been satisfied with any other range of tomatoes. Since I don’t live in Jos, I am quite happy to cook with canned tomatoes. The canning process retains the nutritional value and taste of tomatoes and cooking time is reduced by half because the tomatoes are cooked before being canned. This recipe is just as easy using fresh chopped tomatoes. If you would rather not stand about boiling and frying tomatoes for over an hour, this recipe is just perfect for you.

The combination of tomatoes, garlic, ginger, onions, peppers and chicken creates the most unbelievable flavour that packs a punch. For that heat that Africans like, throw in a couple of scotchies (scotch bonnet/ata rodo) or any hot peppers you have in your country.

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After cooking in this medley of vegetables, the chicken will be succulent and flavourful with a good bit of crust on the skin. That combination of textures and flavours that truly makes food enjoyable. Go big with this easy recipe and surprise yourself.

Sexy Chicken Stew

  • 1 Stalk of spring onions
  • 1 vine of cherry tomatoes
  • Feeds 4 hungry tummies
  • Preparation time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking time: 60 minutes
  • Total time: 1hr 15mins

Ingredients

  • 400g can of chopped tomatoes / 300g chopped fresh tomatoes
  • 1 tbs of olive oil / vegetable oil
  • 1 medium red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 large bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 hot peppers (scotch bonnets), chopped
  • 9 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1 tsp of dried thyme
  • ½ cup of chicken stock / tsp of crushed stock cube with ½ warm water
  • Chicken thighs & drumsticks (or preferred parts)
  • 1 tsp dry red pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

To garnish

  • 1 Stalk of spring onions
  • 1 vine of cherry tomatoes
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Let’s get cooking!
Preheat the oven to 200°C or Gas mark 6. In a wide roasting dish add the chopped tomatoes, oil, chopped onions, peppers, crushed garlic, grated ginger, thyme and stock and stir well. Add 115 – 235ml (½ cup – 1 cup) more water including liquid stock, if using fresh chopped tomatoes. Canned tomatoes already have a fair bit of tomato juice in them. The sauce should not be watery once cooked. Place the washed and cleaned defrosted chicken parts (skin side facing up) into the dish, making sure not to over-crowd the roasting dish. Sprinkle the dry red pepper, paprika, salt and black pepper onto the entire contents of the dish. I do it this way to get a nice crust on the parts of the chicken sticking out of the sauce.
Bake in the middle of the oven. After 30 minutes check your stew and carefully remove from oven with an oven mitt of napkin. Use a spoon to distribute the sauce around and onto the chicken. There is no need to turn the chicken, it will cook evenly, so don’t stir it like you are cooking a pot of stew. This is a ‘sexy stew’, so presentation is quite important. Cover the dish with foil to prevent the chicken from burning and drying out. Carefully return the dish into the oven to cook for another 20 minutes before you check it again.

After a total of 50 minutes in the oven, carefully remove the foil, add the washed separated stalk of spring onions, cherry tomatoes and return to the oven. Continue to cook until the top browns a little more. After 10 minutes the cherry tomatoes and spring onions will be slightly bruised, adding more amazing flavour your stew. Remove from the oven and let it cool down a little before you eat it.

Eat with whatever or whomever you fancy!

Make this recipe yours by using your favourite vegetables and spices. Share your success with me and other food lovers on social media: Instagram @lerato_tomato; Twitter @leratotomato.

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