Nketia Fla (Ghana)
Groundnut (Peanut) Stew with Chicken
Makes 4 servings
Time about 1 1/2 hours largely unattended
2 tablespoons corn, grapeseed or other neutral oil
8 chicken thighs, trimmed of excess fat
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 medium onion, chopped
One 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or more to taste
1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes (canned are fine)
1 quart chicken stock, preferably homemade
3/4 cup natural peanut butter, preferably chunky
1. Put the oil in a deep skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers, put chicken in the skillet, skin side down. Season with salt and pepper and brown well, rotating and turning them as necessary, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and drain all but two tablespoons of the fat.
2. Add the onion and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cayenne and tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes have softened, about 5 minutes.
3. Return the chicken pieces to the casserole and add 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer until the chicken is cooked through and tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Whisk or blend together the remaining chicken stock and the peanut butter; stir the mixture into the stew. Cook for another 20 minutes or so, then taste, adjust seasoning, and serve.
17. Trattoria Gigi in Lucca, Italy. The lunch menu changes daily and it was a 2 minute walk from our apartment, so we ate here three times in one week. Each time was spectacular! One day I ate homemade pappardelle with sautéed porcini mushroom sauce. Another day they served bucatini all'amatriciana, one of my favorites. We long to return.
Piazza del Carmine, 7
18. Floc de Gascogne, Our friends brought us a bottle of this apéritif last summer from their trip to the Armagnac region of France. It is a mixture of fresh grape juice and Armagnac and is served chilled.
19. Dijon Mustard with Green Peppercorns. Perfect with grilled steak or roast duck.
20. Chef Donald Link. We were first introduced to his innovative yet simple food at Herbsaint, where he teamed with chef Susan Spicer to create one of our favorite restaurants in New Orleans. I was able to eat at his new restaurant, Cochon, while visiting New Orleans last June. If we still lived there it would be in our top five! Last year Link was nominated for "Best Chef-Southeast Region" by the James Beard Foundation, although the award went to John Besh of Restaurant August, another fabulous New Orleans restaurant that I had planned to add to this list.