|World's best Garlic|
|Squash of all colors|
A few facts about Gambia you may not know: Located in west central Africa, Gambia is the smallest country in the continent and is bordered on three sides by Senegal.
Gambian cuisine is influenced the by native, Arabic, Portuguese and Senegalese cultures. It's main staple is Fufu - a mashed, boiled dish of starchy vegetables like cassava.
Gambia didn't gain independence from the British until 1970. Although the Mandinka tribe is the largest, many other ethnic groups live together in relative harmony, each preserving their individual customs and traditions. Muslims account for 90% of the population, but holidays that honor both Muslim and Christian traditions are equally respected and celebrated. Go figure.
Tonight made I Chicken and Beef Benachin, a traditional Gambian stew that incorporates aromatic ginger, garlic, hot chillies, fresh tomatoes, cabbage, peppers, egg plant and pumpkin.
To gather all these ingredients, I needed only walk down to the end of my street to my local Mudville Farmer's Market. Featured here are Bobby Blair's spectacular Dahlia's and a beautiful offering of end of summer/fall vegetable's and herbs from Hopestill Farm.
|Note that it's PESTO time! Rock on Hopestill Farm!|
|Glossy red and green peppers|
|Tomatoes, garlic, ginger, hot chili peppers, onions and green peppers - awesomeness|
|The recipe called for pumpkin, but I decided to try a Bon Bon Buttercup squash |
Sweet as sugar and beautiful too
|My ever expanding spice rack, and my favorite Le Creuset pot - the only pot I really need|
|Tahadahhhh - Chicken and Beef Benachin|
Chicken and Beef Benachin ("Benachin" literally means "one pot")www.celtnet.org.uk/recipes
1/2 chicken - cut up into serving pieces - I used skinless thighs
1 lb. beef, trimmed and cubed - I used skirt steak
2 onions, chopped
2 slices ginger, chopped
1 tbsp. fresh hot chillies
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped
4 tbsp. tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tbsp. vinegar
2 bay leaves
oil for frying
1/2 small cabbage, cut into chunks
2 large green bell peppers, sliced
1 large egg plant, cubed
1 small pumpkin or squash, cubed
1 litter water
Salt and pepper to taste
Combine chicken and beef and season liberally with salt, pepper, garlic and vinegar. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes.
Add oil to large pot and fry chicken until golden on both sides, then remove and set aside. Add beef to the oil and fry until well browned. Add the onions and fry for 6 minutes, or until the onion is golden brown. Add the tomato, tomato puree and chili paste. Stir in the water then bring the mixture to a boil before reducing to a simmer and adding all the remaining vegetables.
Cook covered for 15 minutes, then add meat and bay leaves. Season to taste, then cover and cook for about 25 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Serve with white or brown rice.
Final Assessment: This was a wonderful one-pot dish. The house smelled terrific and the blend of spices, seasonings and vegetables was beautiful. My family said it was comfort food. Loved it.