Kedjenou, Fragrant Chicken Tagine from Côte d’Ivoire
This kedjenou is my family’s favorite comfort food. It’s a flavorful and accessible one pot meal, which is practically the national dish of my husband’s home country, Côte d’Ivoire. Kedjenou would be a terrific dish for Kwanzaa celebrations or an African Thanksgiving.
When my husband was a graduate student in the United States he had to learn to cook for himself on a budget. At that time, chicken was very inexpensive. So, he started preparing this kedjenou on a very regular basis.
Gradually, he began to experiment and modify the original recipe. Therefore, purists will find the ingredient list surprising. My husband added ginger, green onions and coriander to the mix, each of which pumps up the flavor of the original dish.
As an Ivorian family, we’ve eaten many kedjenous over the years. In our opinion, none of these sauces have come close to my husband’s recipe. So, I’m really excited about sharing it with you today.
About this Recipe
Kedjenou is a dish from the Akan ethnic group. Traditionally, this sauce is prepared in a clay pot, called a canari. The clay pot remains closed throughout the cooking, so that all the flavors remain intact and the food cooks in its own steam. The canari is shaken from time to time during cooking, to prevent burning and sticking. Thus, it has a lot in common with North African tagines.
The nice thing about Ivorian sauces, like this one, is that most sauces can be eaten with the meat of your choice. It is quite common, in fact, to make sauces with many different meats at the same time. In Abidjan, we always liked to toss a crab in the pot, cut in two through the middle. The crab adds a unique flavor to the sauce, making it feel richer and more special.
So, if you try this recipe and enjoy it, please feel free to experiment with the variety of meat or poultry your family likes best. Guinea fowl, escargots, and lamb are all good choices.
I hope your family enjoys kedjenou as much as mine does. Bon appétit!