For the most part, my husband and I are wedded to the Mediterranean diet or lifestyle, but will occasionally venture out and test some new diets.
At the suggestion of my sister-in-law, my husband and I decided to see what the Paleo diet had to offer. I checked out a few books at the library, but eventually decided on a few cookbooks that I thought provided some interesting recipes.
The paleo diet is loosely based “on the types of foods presumed to have been eaten by early humans, consisting chiefly of meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food.” In effect, it is the food that hunters and gatherers would consume rather than the food farmers who produce from domesticated animals and farmed vegetable gardens, particularly legumes.
As such, it differs considerably from the Mediterranean diet in the sense that you are eliminating one more level of “food processing” from your diet. Clearly, a reduction in factory-processed and potentially chemically-treated foods is a way to eat more naturally and help restore body health. In fact, many people have told us that they “feel better” after being weaned from artificially processed foods, sugar and dairy. Who am I to argue?
The following recipe for West African Chicken Stew is reprinted from the Healthy Foodie Blog, which has some gorgeous photos on how this dish is assembled. While the author of the blog substituted chicken breasts, I strongly recommend using chicken thighs because they have far more flavor. We served this lovely stew with coconut cauliflower rice (also available in Well Fed 2).
WEST AFRICAN CHICKEN STEW
Ingredients (Serves 2 to 4)
- 1/2 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
- 1/2 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter (no sugar added)
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- garnish: minced fresh parsley leaves, sunflower seeds
- Sprinkle the chicken enthusiastically with salt and pepper. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add the chicken in a single layer and brown well on both sides, about 10 minutes. (Don’t crowd the pan; cook in batches if you need to.) Remove the chicken to a bowl to catch the juices.
- In the same pot, cook the onions and ginger until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cayenne, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and water, stirring to combine. Nestle the chicken into the sauce, along with any juices it released. Increase the heat to bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
- Remove the chicken from the pot; it will be very tender. Break the chicken into large pieces with the side of a wooden spoon. Add the sunflower seed butter and vanilla to the pot and mix to combine. Return the chicken to the pot and cover. Heat through, about 5 minutes, then serve, sprinkled with parsley and sunflower seeds.
Enjoy. This recipe is a little spicy but delicious. It can easily be made ahead of time and reheated. Thank you Melissa. We love your cookbook!