Niger - Djerma
The national dish of Niger. Did you know, obviously Nigeria’s citizens are Nigerians, but Niger’s citizens are Nigerien (male) and Nigerienne (female)? Yay, facts! Anywho, I made this the other day, and shared with my friend. She thought the chicken was really tender, maybe unbelievably so. This chicken does get really tender and flavorful, and all it needs is 40 minutes of simmering! That’s it, and you have the most flavorful chicken. Yum.
The best part is that it goes extremely well with rice. Honestly, I think it would go really well with Sadza, a cornmeal polenta essentially. That stuff really absorbs flavor!
Remember some time ago, I made a stew for Zimbabwe called Dovi? And how it used a CUP of peanut butter? THIS dish, the djerma, uses only 2 tablespoons, yet has more peanut flavor (even without the peanut garnishes) than the Dovi did. I was a little flabbergasted how a dish with so little in comparison could have so much more peanut taste. The magic of cooking! Anyway guys, you have to try this dish. The carrots that simmer in this dish are really tender and just melts in your mouth. Yum.
5 roma tomatoes, chopped
1 onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves
3 lbs chicken thighs, chopped
1/4 cup oil
1 tbsp paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons thyme
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon chicken stock powder (bouillon)
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped
2 cups carrots, sliced
2 scallions, sliced
2 1/2 tablespoons peanut butter
Salt and pepper, to taste
Add the tomatoes, onions, and garlic in a blender and pulse. You don’t need to blend it completely. We want it to be a little chunky, like a salsa almost.
Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. While you’re waiting for the heat, season the chopped chicken with salt and pepper. Add oil to the pot and wait until it starts to shimmer.
Add the chicken and brown on all sides, in batches. When all the chicken has been seared, put all the chicken back into the pot. Add the blended tomato mixture into the pan and give it a good stir until the chicken and tomato mix is well incorporated.
Season with paprika, thyme, curry powder, the bay leaf, and the chicken stock powder. Bring the stew to a boil, reduce the heat to low, and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, add two cups of water, as well as the parsley, carrots, and scallions. Cook for an additional 5 minutes, or until the carrots are tender.
With a ladle or measuring cup, take some of the liquid out of the pot and into a small bowl. Mix the peanut butter with the liquid until it’s completely smooth, and add this mixture back into the pot. Let the stew simmer for another 5-10 minutes to let it thicken.
Season with salt and pepper if necessary, and remove the bay leaf.
Serve with rice!
Recipe adapted from National Foods.