Stew is usually served on a Sunday in Sierra Leonean households and commonly with jollof rice. There’s an ongoing joke amongst many West African countries, (and tribes within these countries) such as Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia, believing their own stew and jollof rice is better and sweeter than the other. Of course, I have be loyal and say my Mama’s is the best, so that covers Salone and Liberia in one!
Here is her version of smoked chicken stew with a few tweaks from me to make it even sweeter! It can also be made with chicken, beef, smoked pig’s trotters, oxtail or red snapper, mackerel or a mixture of both meat and fish, if you prefer.
Serves 5 – 6
The prep. part
1 medium sized whole smoked chicken, chopped up and on the bone where possible, along with the skin too
100ml vegetable oil (rapeseed or sunflower)
3 large onions, finely chopped or blitzed in a food processor
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2tsp tomato paste
2tbsp dark soy sauce
1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp mixed herbs
1 -2 sprigs of thyme
Pinch of salt (not too much with the soy sauce and smoked chicken having a high salt content)
1 whole medium szied aubergine, finely chopped or blitzed in a food processor
1 scotch bonnet pepper
½ white cabbage, sliced into 6 to form half moons
The assembling part
- Put a deep, wide based sauce pan onto a medium heat.
- Once the pan is hot, add the oil slowly to avoid any splash-backs of oil.
- Then, again, slowly add the onions and stir continuously. Turn the heat down slightly as you the onions to slowly brown and soften and not fry.
- At this point, if you’re using aubergines, you can add these to the pan too, continuing to stir the ingredients. NOTE: This is also the point at which you would add the raw meat, be it chicken, pork or beef (if you are not using the pre-cooked smoked chicken) so that the juices from the meat and the bones can be released, giving a greater depth to the stew’s flavour. Cook the raw meats until nicely browned on each side before moving onto the next step.
- After about 3 minutes, add the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed herbs, dark soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, mixed herbs, salt and thyme and stir.
- Now leave the stew to cook out for about 35 – 40 minutes. After 30 minutes, if you are wanting to have cabbage too, add this to the stew by simply sitting it on top of the sauce. This way it will steam whilst still picking up the rich flavours of the stew.
- After the 35 – 40 minutes, add the smoked chicken and stir in covering both the meat, and cabbage if added, with stew.
- Cover the pan with a lid, and leave to simmer for about 8 -10 minutes.
- Serve with jollof rice or white basmati rice.