Sunday, December 13, 2009
Cote d'Ivoire - French City
For many years Cote d’Ivoire was the jewel of West Africa. When we lived in Nigeria it was known by its English translation as the Ivory Coast. My mother visited Abidjan, the capital, dubbed “Paris of West Africa” with its boutiques and fancy restaurants. My mother described it as a beautiful French city.
Cote d’Ivoire’s modernity is exceptional compared to other West African countries. It has impressive skyscrapers and a basilica that closely resembles Rome’s St. Peter’s. However, things have changed. Since the death of their first president, Houphouet-Boigny, the country has taken a dramatic downward turn. A series of coups, insurgencies and the northern-led rebellion in 2002 has devastated the country and its economy has crumbled.
For our Cote d’Ivoire meal I managed to find a recipe that didn’t require peanut butter. I cooked Kedjenou, chicken pieces baked with eggplant, okra, onions, tomatoes and various spices. It was a one-pot meal and I got to use my new baking dish with a lid.
I love eggplant so my hopes were high but I was not overly impressed. Maybe I’m just sick of chicken. The kids had no complaints.
Ironically, after dinner, I sat down with John and helped him study for a French test. My mother learned a little French so she could get by in those French African countries. I think she would have been very impressed that John is learning the language, even if French Africa seems to be disappearing.
Large chicken cut into pieces
4 small eggplant, peeled and cut into pieces
6 okra, chopped
2 onions, chopped
4 tomatoes, blanched, peeled and chopped
2 cm length of ginger
sprig of thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup chicken stock
1 TBSP groundnut oil (I used peanut oil)
Combine ingredients in cooking pot. Stir then seal with a lid. Seal lid with tin foil ringing the rim of the pot.
Place in a 350 degree oven and cook for 1 hour and 40 minutes (I only cooked it for about an hour). Take pot out of oven and let cool for about 10 minutes.