Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Kedjenou - WCFC2014 : Cote D'Ivoire

Today's dish in the World Cup Food Challenge is from the Ivory Coast, and is the last of the first round dishes I'll be cooking.  Whichever teams go through to the next round will get another dish, those who go home, well... I'm never eating anything from their country again.

Before we get to the food, let's hit up some Cote D'Ivoire facts, for your edification and mine...
1. The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer of cocoa beans
2. You've heard of the Nobel Peace Prize, but have you heard of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize? Named after the first President of the Ivory Coast, amongst its recipients was Nelson Mandela
3. The national motto of The Ivory Coast is Unity, Discipline, Labour. Which, whilst being inspirational, is also a bit dull

One of the fun things about the World Cup Food Challenge, as well as compiling my fun facts, is researching the recipes, finding out what fun and unusual ingredients I might need for a dish and where to find them.  Some of these things are relatively easy to find - Plantains are found in most supermarkets, if you're lucky, Cassava in good markets, duck tongues in any Chinese food suppliers, but then some things are almost impossible to find.

When I googled Ivory Coast cuisine, I found that giant land snails were an ingredient that is eaten in that country, which peaked my culinary curiosity, but alas, no giant land snails were to be found anywhere (and I didn't want your common or garden small snails.  Where's the fun in that?)

I finally found a dish that sounded fun - a stew called Kedjenou, traditionally cooked in the embers of a fire, but seeing as there are court orders preventing me from setting fire to things (not really) I decided to do mine in the oven - of which more later.  Kedjenou can be made with a variety of meats - beef and chicken seem to be most common, but then I can across Kedjenou avec Agouti.  Ooooh, what can that be, I thought and promptly searched for it, only to be greeted with... this

A Cane rat.  I giggled.  Where the heck could I get a cane rat from? I checked, I asked twitter, I considered stealing the next door neighbour's Guinea Pigs (But their grandkids would be heartbroken) but sadly, my search was frustratingly drawing a blank.  So in the end, I had to settle for chicken.  Bah! I feel defeated.  Still, the kedjenou was delicious, but it just goes to illustrate that even in the days of being able to get most things from Amazon, it's still a struggle to make some dishes authentically

4 Chicken Thighs (or 1 Cane Rat, quartered)
1 Large Onion
1 Aubergine
1 Red Pepper
1 Green Pepper
3 Tomatoes
4 Cloves of Garlic
2tbsp Chopped Ginger
1tsp Dried Thyme
Salt and Pepper

1. In a large heavy pan, add a little oil, heat and brown the chicken pieces.

2. Add the vegetables, chopped and seasonings then cover the pan with silver foil before putting the lid on, to create as near to an airtight seal as possible.

3. Put the pan in the oven at 150ºc for 90 minutes, shaking the pan regularly to ensure that the ingredients don't stick.  You don't need to add any more liquid, the vegetables should provide enough to cook everything properly and make a sauce.

4.  Serve with cous cous or white rice.  Enjoy


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