Peanut Chicken Stew à la Idris Elba

So we went all Hollywood today and made the favorite dish of actor Idris Elba. At least that is what Jamie Oliver claims in his Comfort Food cookbook. Well. We also changed it up a little. Since the girls had declared an indefinite moratorium on eggplants we used zucchini and squash instead. On top of it we took it easy on the hot chiles. So we are not sure if Idris Elba would recognize this, but we had some good fun in the kitchen nonetheless. Surely he won't mind. As a warning up front, this took several easy hours, perfect for an ice day in the Carolinas, where everything comes to a screeching halt, when a single snow flake falls.

It all started with a whole chicken. A free roaming happy chicken, of course :).

We were asked to cut it up pre-cooking, so we sharpened our knife and got to it. 

Wings, drumsticks, thighs, breast meat, and all other chunks we could find. We tried to keep the bones and skin on as good as we could.

Then we sprinkled the meat with about 2 teaspoons of ground coriander, 1 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika, half a teaspoon of red pepper, salt, pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. We slathered the spices all over, covered the chicken, and placed it in the fridge for more than 2 hours.

2 hours before dinner time we heated the oven to 400F and roasted the chicken for 45 minutes.

Next we cut up 3 zucchinis, 3 yellow squash (the recipe asks for 2 eggplants), 1 big onion, and 1/4 of a habanero pepper (the recipe suggests 1 Scotch bonnet pepper, which we understand basically peels your skin off just touching it; we'll try that when our pallets have adjusted to such torture).

We cooked all that with some olive oil for about 30 minutes.

Then we took 4 vine tomatoes and chopped them up quite roughly.

recipe for whole chicken healthy stew
Now we stirred into the veggies 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, added the chicken, loosened and added with a dash of water the remaining bits from the roasting pan, tossed in the tomatoes, and covered it all with 3 cups of chicken broth. We brought it to a boil and let it simmer for an hour. About half way through we added 1 tablespoon of smooth peanut butter.

In the meantime we prepared a pot of brown rice. (1.5 cups of brown rice in 3 cups of boiling water with 2 minced cloves of garlic, a bit of olive oil and a dash of salt, turned to the lowest setting for about 45 minutes.)

idris elba jamie oliver ghanaian peanut chicken stew
While we were waiting we prepped a spicy pickle. We chopped up half a big red onion and 1 and 3/4 of habanero peppers.

idris elba jamie oliver ghanaian peanut chicken stew
We mixed them up with 4 fresh bay leaves, 1 teaspoon of fine sugar, a dash of salt and 8 tablespoons of red wine vinegar.

We also trimmed a few handfuls of okra and fried them up in our cool cast iron skillet till they looked roasted and a tad crunchy.

idris elba jamie oliver ghanaian peanut chicken stew
And then, we let all of that glorious Yummy descend gently into our bowls. Rice, Chicken Stew, Okra, and hot pickle for  the adventurous types. Oh my. It was drop down delicious. The meat was super tasty and tender and the pickle with its vinegar added the perfect note. If this was anything close to what Idris Elba's mother used to make him than he sure was one spoiled lucky boy. :)