Yassa Chicken Recipe from Dr Jessica B. Harris
Chicken yassa (aka chicken yassa or yassa ganar) is my totem dish. I first tasted it in Senegal in 1972 on my first trip to the African continent – and it was love at first sight. I describe it as a connector because the familiar and the unknown: the dish that talks about this kind of invisible – but sometimes intuitive – umbilicus between the African continent and the American hemisphere. I consider it my lucky dish and have included a version of it in almost all of my cookbooks.
Combine lemon juice, onions, salt, pepper, minced habanero, and 1/4 cup peanut oil in a resealable gallon-sized plastic bag (or non-reactive, resealable bowl). ). Add the chicken pieces and seal the bag; massage to coat evenly. Marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Transfer the marinated chicken, skin side down, to a preheated, seasoned roasting pan. Cook the chicken, in batches, until browned on both sides (it will not be cooked). Reserve the onions and marinade. Transfer the cooked chicken to a plate.
Meanwhile, heat the remaining tablespoon of peanut oil in a large casserole dish over medium-low heat. Add the reserved onions, shaking the marinade as much as possible and cook, about 20 minutes, until translucent and tender. Add the rest of the marinade and mix well; increase heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is boiling.
Add the grilled chicken pieces, pricked habanero, olives, carrots, mustard and 1/2 cup of water, stirring to combine well. Once the liquid has come back to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. If the mixture seems too dry, add more water. Taste occasionally and remove all of the habanero when the desired level of spice is reached. Serve hot over broken rice.