Mauretanian Chicken Vegetable Stew (maru we-ilham)

Mauretanian Entree

MARU WE-ILHAM
(chicken vegetable stew)

INGREDIENTSMaruIlWelham-

3 chicken breasts
1 small cassava root
1 small eggplant
⅔ head cabbage
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves
1 large onion
1 pili pili pepper (or other red chile pepper or ¼ teaspoon cayenne)
4 tablespoons butter
4 cups chicken broth
1 bay leaf
2½ tablespoons Dijon or prepared mustard
2 cups rice
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Makes about 12 bowls. You can make only 6 bowls by cutting the ingredients in half, but what will you do with that ½ cassava root and ½ eggplant that’s left over? E-Bay perhaps?

PREPARATION

Slice chicken breasts, cassava root, and eggplant into 1″ cubes. Shred cabbage. Cut carrots into ½” thick slices. Mince garlic cloves. Dice onion. Remove seeds from pili pili or other chile pepper and dice. Add butter, chicken cubes, garlic, and onion to large pot. Sauté on medium-high for 5 minutes or until onion softens and chicken starts to brown. Stir frequently. Add chicken broth. Bring to boil using high heat. Reduce heat to low. Add bay leaf, eggplant, carrot, cabbage, cassava, chile pepper, Dijon mustard, rice, black pepper, and salt. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until rice becomes tender.

TIDBITS

1) Eggplant is important to Mauretanian cooking. This mighty vegetable figures prominently in other Saharan cuisines as well such as: Ivorian, Nigerien, and Burkinabe.

2) Why? Because in 1073 A.D., culinary warriors from the forgotten Saharan city of Aubergine started a war of conquest. The cleaver wielding Aubergine warriors could not abide the vegetable selections to be found in their newly added lands. So they imposed their eggplant on the Sahara. They diverted entire popultations to the production and harvesting of eggplant. Eggplant became a mandatory part of every meal. Over the years, the natives came to love the vegetable and wouldn’t think of dining without it. Gosh, I sure hope there won’t ever be any lutefisk-loving armies.

– Chef Paul

4novels

My cookbook, Eat Me: 169 Fun Recipes From All Over the World,  and novels are available in paperpack or Kindle on amazon.com

As an e-book on Nook

or on my website-where you can get a signed copy at: www.lordsoffun.com

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