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Kedjenou is a way of cooking chicken that comes from the Cote d’Ivoire, or Ivory Coast, on the western coast of Africa. Although it is traditionally cooked in a “canary,” or earthenware jar,on a wood fire, the recipe can be adapted to a deep casserole on the stove.

The kedjenou is slow-cooked in a `canary,’ a large earthenware jar with a narrow neck, which is placed directly over the wood fire. During hunting season, the kedjenou is made out in the bush with game birds, and the `canary’ jar is replaced by a banana leaf well-tied which is placed under the ashes. A variant is made by adding some drops of palm wine [this is the fermented sap of palms drunk as a beverage in the tropics]. Of course, to make this recipe as a casserole it’s necessary to add a little fat — peanut oil, for example.

1 chicken about 1.5kilograms (3½ lbs)

1 eggplant

2 large onions

2 fresh red or green hot peppers

4 tomatoes

1 small piece gingerroot

1 sprig thyme

1 bay leaf


Clean the chicken and cut it in pieces. Place them in an earthenware jar with the eggplant cut in pieces, the onions finely minced, the peppers seeded and shredded in little pieces,the tomatoes peeled, seeded and roughly crushed, the ginger root grated, plus the thyme and the bay leaf. Salt as desired. Hermetically seal the jar by tying a banana leaf around the collar; air should not escape and one should not have to add water during cooking. Place the jar on the hot coals; let cook about 45 minutes. During cooking, raise the jar and shake it energetically each 5 minutes so that the bottom doesn’t stick.”

Country: Ivory Coast

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