Posted by Burkina Fasso on
ASHANTI CHICKEN Ashanti Chicken Can a recipe become extinct? If so, this one should be on the endangered recipe list. It is described in two histori...
Ashanti Chicken Can a recipe become extinct? If so, this one should be on the endangered recipe list. It is described in two historic texts (see below), but (as far as can be determined) recipes appear in print only in Ghanaian Favourite Dishes by Alice Dede (Accra, Ghana: Anowuo Educational Publications, 2R McCarthy Hill, 1969) and Barbara Baëta’s West African Favourites: Cookery Cards (Accra, Ghana; Moxon Paperbacks, 1972), from which this recipe is adapted. The origin of Ashanti Chicken is unclear. It is interesting to note that Robert Nassau believes that the dish was invented by a Fanti cook, presumably not too long before he first encountered it. But why would a Fanti cook call his creation Ashanti Chicken? (The Fanti (Fante) and Ashanti (Asante) both live in Ghana, the former “Gold Coast”.) Was it invented by Africans and named by Europeans? Is it a creation of West African cooks employed by Europeans, or does it predate Europeans’ arrival in Africa? Is Ashanti Chicken the ancestor of the Turducken, popularized by (but invented by?) Louisiana’s Chef Paul Prudhomme? In any case, there should be lots of “ooohs” and “aaaahs” at the table when you slice all the way through what looks like a normal roasted chicken without hitting any bones to reveal a delicious pairing of stuffing and meat. Ingredients * one whole chicken, two to three pounds, de-boned (see below) * one pound yams (or potatoes, or sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into quarters * one pound chicken meat, white or dark (no bones) * cooking oil for frying chicken * one small onion, chopped * one tomato, chopped (or a spoonful of tomato paste or tomato sauce) * a handful of parsley, chopped * a few mint leaves, chopped * salt and black pepper, to taste Method * Boil the yams (or potatoes, or sweet potatoes) until tender. When tender, remove from water andmash. * While yams are cooking, fry the chicken meat (not the whole chicken) in a few tablespoons of oil. When nearly done add the onion and tomato. Reduce heat and simmer until chicken is fully cooked. * Add the chicken-onion-tomato mixture to the mashed yam (or its substitute). Add parsley, mint, salt, and pepper. Mix well. * Stuff the de-boned chicken with the yam-chicken mixture. Sew the chicken closed with a needle and cooking string. Rub with butter or oil, salt and pepper. * Steam the stuffed chicken for two hours in a large Dutch oven (place the chicken on something to keep it out of the boiling water), then baste it with oil or butter and bake or grill it until it is golden brown. — Or — Bake or grill the stuffed chicken until it is browned, then wrap it in foil to allow it to continue to cook until fully done. Either way, be sure to use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Make sure to check the temperature of both the whole chicken and the stuffing * Serve Ginger Beer or Green Tea with Mint with or after the meal. Deboning a chicken takes some practice. You may want to ask your butcher to provide you with a de-boned bird. If you want to try it yourself, you may wish to refer to one of the many fine Turducken websites for instructions on de-boning fowl. (Use the search engines below to search for Turducken, which, by the way, is a de-boned chicken stuffed into a de-boned duck stuffed into a de-boned turkey.) Barbara Baëta gives these instructions: “Remove all the bones from a dressed chicken by slitting the skin and the flesh down the backbone. With a very sharp pointed knife, work the framework of bones out of the chicken. Cut the leg bones to leave 1/2 inch of knuckle at the end of each for tidy appearance.”