At the moment, food blogs (this one included) are all full of recipes for lovely warming soups and stews. That is because it is really cold outside. But for me the word stew generally conjures up the Sierra Leonean style stew which is has a lot less liquid than you would expect. It conjures up a base of spiced onions simmered with tomatoes and chilli with a minimal amount of liquid. This is the stew served with jollof rice, or on sundays and special occasions. I remember trying to cram in as much of my left over stew sandwiches as I could before heading off to school. When I decided I wanted to cook this for a recent celebration I spoke to one of my best friends. She is an amazing cook and OH is always angling for an invite to her house. Anyway I was discussing pureeing the vegetable for this so I could cut down the cooking time. But girl, she said to me, the stew is in the ‘onion slices’. I had to admit that she was right so no shortcuts.
The key to this stew is slicing the onions very thinly and cooking them slowly till they practically melt in your mouth. Much of the cooking involves just simmering the vegetables away. Please try this and serve with rice, plantains or bread. And don’t forget to leave a comment below to tell me what you think.
Looking for more savory stew recipes? Try this flavouful Meatball Jollof Stew.
West African Chicken and Sweet Potato Stew
- 400 g sweet potato peeled and chopped 14oz, 4 cups
- ½ tsp ground coriander cilantro
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- 2 tbsp + 1 tsp oil
- 8 chicken thighs
- 2 jumbo cubes optional, see notes
- 5 onions finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 2 peppers deseeded and finely chopped bell
- Scotch bonnet chilli chopped to taste optional
- 2 bay leaves
- 210 ml water 1 cup
- 400 g tin chopped tomato 14oz
- Pre heat the oven to fan assisted 160C / 180C / 350F / gas 4.
- Season sweet potatoes with ½ tsp coriander, ½ tsp ginger, salt, pepper and 1 tsp oil and mix well.
- Season the chicken with 1 jumbo cube (or 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp ground ginger and salt).
- Bake sweet potato in the oven for up to 30 mins till they are done. Make sure to stir them at least once during baking so that they cook evenly on all sides
- Heat the remaining oil in a non stick pan and fry the chicken pieces on medium heat till they are done. Remove them from the pan and set them aside
- In the same pan add in the onions, garlic, peppers, scotch bonnet and bay leaves and stir fry for a minute until fragrant.
- Then add in the water, cover and simmer for about 40 mins till the onions are soft stirring occasionally.
- Keep an eye on the water level and if it get gets too dry you might need to add in a few tbsp of water.
- Then add in chopped tomatoes and the other jumbo cube, bring to the boil and then cook on low heat for another 20 mins.
- Then add in the chicken and sweet potato and simmer uncovered for another 10 mins so the flavours blend together.
- Adjust seasoning and serve.
- You can substitute the scotch bonnet with chillies of you choice.
- Jumbo cubes (and maggi cubes) are stock cubes used to flavour food in West Africa. You normally find them in shops selling ethnic food. If you can't find one then replace the water with stock of your choice.