Spicy Chicken and Pean Fritters for Foodie Friday

West Coast African Spicy Chicken and Pean Fritters

This dish was called “Chicken Yassa” by Jessica B. Harris when I saw it one afternoon on the Food Network. I didn’t like the name, so there you go. I made quite a few changes to the chicken recipe and there were no black-eyed pea fritters in her presentation. Ya’ better duck a little when you eat this one.

West Coast African Spicy Chicken

1 2-pound chicken, cut into pieces and trimmed of fat
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large white onion, halved and sliced thin
Juice of 2 large lemons, seeds removed
1/4 cup grapeseed oil
1 habañero chile, pierced several times with a fork
1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely minced habañero chile (optional)

Place onions, lemon juice, and oil (and minced habañero, if using) into a large ceramic or glass bowl, mixing thoroughly. I usually rinse the chicken a little, cleaning the last bits of crud, then pat the pieces dry. Salt and pepper the chicken all over, then nestle chicken pieces into the onions, ensuring pieces are well covered. In the center of the bowl, nestle the pierced habañero chile into the liquid. Marinate, covered with plastic wrap, for 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator (bigger is better, in this case).

20 kalamata olives, pitted and diced
3 large carrots, cleaned and sliced
1 large ripe tomato, diced
1/2 cup Riesling wine
2 tablespoons spicy mustard (I used New Braunfels Smokehouse Sweet and Spicy Mustard; my other preference would be Keen’s or Coleman’s hot mustard with a teaspoon of honey)

When the chicken has marinated well, remove the pieces to a broiling pan, reserving the onions and liquid. Broil the chicken (or grill over a hot barbeque fire) until golden brown on all sides (about 3 to 5 minutes per side).

While chicken is browning, place onions into a hot, large, lightly-oiled pot and sauté until transparent. Stir in the carrots and olives, sautéing for another couple of minutes. Then add the reserved marinade liquid, tomato, wine, mustard, pierced habañero chile, and browned chicken. Add additional water to half cover chicken only if necessary. Simmer for 35 or 40 minutes, until tender, stirring from time to time. We served this delicious dish with:

Black-Eyed Pea Fritters

1/4 cup dried black-eyed peas
1 cup bottled water

Soak peas in water for three hours (until peas are swollen). Drain water and discard it. Place beans into a small pot and just cover with water and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain beans completely.

1 small white onion, minced
2 small cloves Italian garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon habañero sauce (I like Marie Sharp’s)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 4 teaspoons bottled water

Whisk above ingredients, excepting the water, in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, mash the cooked and drained peas until soft and “fluffy.”

In the meanwhile, heat about 2 cups of canola, peanut or vegetable oil in an 8-inch deep pot until it reaches 375° F.

Mix the egg mixture into the mashed beans, until even more “fluffy,” adding water as required to make it an easy fritter batter with which to work. Drop single tablespoons of this mixture into the hot oil and deep fry for just 3 to 4 minutes, until crispy. Do not crowd the pot and drain on paper towel.

The sweet / hot mustard and tomato make this a subtle sweet dish, but still spicy. The fritters make a fine complement.

Richard Jehn

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