Tonight marked our 1 year anniversary of being homeowners. It also happens to be Halloween (I was dressed in my bunny sweat suit while I signed all the legal docs last year and I am dressed as a cat as I write this). My husband was in need of comfort food, and for him, that is ugali and stew. I decided to make chicken stew since that is the meat I had on hand. I have made chicken stew before, but this is definitely my favorite one.
My favorite chicken stew:
2 chicken breasts (or an equal amount of any meaty part of the chicken)
1 quart chicken broth
1 bunch of fresh thyme
1/4 cup dried lemongrass
1 small bunch fresh parsley
2 Tbs. peanut butter
1/4 cup sherry
1 chopped jalapeno or other hot chili pepper
4 carrots thinly sliced
2 potatoes cut into bite sized pieces
2 yellow onions roughly chopped
1 bunch of fresh greens chopped or about a cup of frozen greens (chard, collard, spinach, etc.)
4 cloves chopped garlic
The following are spices that you may or may not have... Use all or some to taste....I used a lot tonight!
Barbados curry (Thanks Ashley!)
Zanzibar red curry (which is more of a thickener and food coloring)
Zanzibar dried hot chilis
Bring the chicken broth to a low boil in a large stock pot and add the raw chicken. Add the thyme, parsley, lemongrass, garlic and sherry. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the chicken and let set on a cutting board to cool. Pour the broth through a strainer into an 8 cup liquid measuring cup to separate all the solids from the broth. Pour the strained broth back into the stock pot and discard all the solids that were cooked with the broth. Add all the remaining ingredients, except the chicken and the greens. Bring to a low boil for about 10 min. Add the corn starch, mixed with enough water to dissolve it, to the pot and continue to boil for at least a minute to get red of the starchy taste. Turn the heat to low and then add the chicken and the greens (if fresh). Let the pot sit for at least an hour, uncovered. After it has set for at least an hour, add the greens (if frozen) and heat until warmed through.
Dish into shallow soup bowls and let it sit for a bit to cool off, especially if you will be serving it with ugali and using your fingers!
Ugali (Tanzania, Kenya) Sadza (Zimbabwe)
It is very easy to make Ugali yet sort of hard to explain. Also, I don't feel quite worthy of telling you how to make it because I am probably not very good at it. Although, I am getting better and my husband says I am getting MUCH better. When I have more time I will post a video that shows our friend Bosco making Ugali in Tanzania.
All I can tell you is this:
I take about 2 cups of white corn flour combined with approximately 3 cups of water. I stir it until it is dissolved and then bring it to a boil. I stir it vigorously and then reduce the heat a little. I smooth it around and sort of seal the top up and wait until it is puffing from the heat that is trying to escape. Then I stir it all around again. This is an arm workout! I repeat this process at least 4 more times. The ugali should be very stick and not be too moist or sticky. It is much thicker than grits. I transfer it into a bowl and smooth it all around to make it round in the bowl. You know you have made it close to okay when it does not stick much at all to your hands.
I used this rainbow chard about a month ago in my stew. I thought it was beautiful! Tonight, I used frozen spinach which is not picture worthy.
This is a picture of the chicken stew I made about a month ago. It was not nearly as good and I learned quite a bit from making this semi-flavorful stew. First, I need to strain the herbs and lemongrass from the broth and second, I need to add way more spices! I did happen to make very good ugali that night. It was nice and firm and did not stick to your fingers. The ugali that we ate in Tanzania was much lighter than this. I do buy the white corn flour but it is still not as light as theirs is.
This is the dried lemongrass, parsley, and thyme after I added it to the broth and before I strained it.
Tasty Chicken Stew and Ugali