For dinner tonight I made African style braised chicken, nothing Finnish about this recipe except that I’ve adapted it from a cookbook written by Judith Finlayson! I think it must be possible to find a Finnish connection to most things, if you try hard enough…
Speaking of Finlayson, I would love to be in Tampere at the Finlayson outlet right now, we really need some new towels. The ones I bought there in 1993 just wore out!
You can find the original recipe here. I found it in the Chicago Tribune a long time ago, it is one of my kids’ favorite dishes. I don’t really follow the original recipe, though, so I’ll post what I do here so my kids can make it, too.
4 pounds (1.8 kilos) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 onions (I used 2 tablespoons of dried minced onion this time)
4 garlic cloves (I used 2 tablespoons of dried minced garlic this time)
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup (1.25 dl) of tomato sauce
1/2 cup (1.25 dl) of water
1 chicken bouillon cube
peppers and vegetables
1/2 cup (1.25 dl) of peanut butter
juice of one lemon
First, I browned about 4 pounds (1.8 kilos) of boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I used a heavy pan to do this, cooking slowly until the thighs were browned well on all sides. If I had used fresh onions and garlic, I would have cooked it with the chicken, but all I had was dried so I added it later. If you use fresh, add 2 chopped onions and 4 minced garlic cloves. Make sure and turn the chicken and cook it slowly so it doesn’t burn. Then I took them out and drained them on paper towels and also wiped most of the oil out of the skillet.
I deglazed the pan with 1/2 cup (1.25 dl) of tomato sauce and 1/2 cup (1.25 dl) of water. To deglaze, just pour in all the liquid and scrape the bottom of the pan to get all the dried-on bits off. Season with a bay leaf (take the bay leaf out before serving, you can’t eat it!), one chicken bouillon cube and pepper.
I put the chicken in the bottom of a crockpot slow cooker and poured the sauce over it. Then I added some vegetables that I found in the garden…a few green beans, some cherry tomatoes, and a variety of peppers, both hot and sweet. It is easy to adjust the heat of the dish by omitting the hot peppers. I leave the vegetables whole when possible in case one of the kids wants to sort them out. I also added a generous two tablespoons each of dried minced garlic and dried minced onion at this point.
This cooked on low for about 3 hours (if you don’t cook the chicken as well in the skillet as I did, you should cook it 6 hours on low or 3 hours on high). When it is done the chicken will shred easily with a fork.
Just before serving, add the juice of one lemon and 1/2 cup (1.25 dl) of peanut butter. Stir well and serve over rice.
If for some reason you couldn’t add peanut butter, this dish would still be delicious without it, but I would still add the lemon juice and maybe a tablespoon of brown sugar (to taste).
My family loves this dish, and I hope yours will, too!