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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

    Senegalese Chicken Yassa

    Yassa is a spicy dish made with onions and marinated chicken or fish. Yassa is a popular West African dish that originated in Senegal. Chicken yassa (also known as yassa au poulet) is a speciality from Senegal’s Casamance region, served with onions, lemon, or mustard. Lamb and fish are two more meats used in yassa.

    Senegalese Chicken Yassa

    Course Main Course, Main Dish
    Cuisine Senegalese


    • 3 chicken leg quarters (leg and thigh)
    • 3 chicken breast halves (bone-in)
    • 5 onions (about 2 pounds) peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
    • 1 habanero or scotch bonnet pepper
    • Marinade
    • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup canola oil or olive oil
    • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
    • 4 medium garlic cloves, crushed
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • Kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 1 tablespoon cooking oil (olive, canola, or grape seed)
    • 1 1/2 cups low-salt chicken broth (I recommend Swanson’s)
    • Garnish 1 cup pitted green olives, sliced


    • Marinate the Chicken: Put the chicken and onions into a large glass bowl.
    • Cut a few slits in the habanero pepper and add it to the bowl. 
    • Whisk marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour on top. 
    • Toss to coat
    • Cover bowl with plastic wrap and marinate in the fridge for at least 3 hours or, preferably, overnight.
    • Brown the Chicken and Caramelize the Onions: Preheat the oven to 176ºC.
    • Heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat in a large heavy pot or Dutch oven.
    • Remove the chicken from the marinade and sprinkle pieces with a few pinches of salt and a few grinds of pepper, to taste.
    • Brown chicken on both sides in batches, three pieces at a time, about 5 minutes per batch.
    • Transfer to a plate and set aside. Spoon out some of the chicken fat from the pot, leaving about one tablespoon.
    • Caramelize the Onions Set the hot pepper aside and scrape the onions and all the marinade into the pot over medium-high heat.
    • Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes to get the onions hot and cooking. Cover the pot and turn the heat to medium-low.
    • Let the onions cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes more, until they are soft and starting to caramelize. 
    • Regulate the heat so they don’t burn.
    • Use a spatula or wooden spoon to move onions aside, as you lay chicken pieces into the bottom of the pot, and then mound the onions on top of the chicken pieces.
    • Place the hot pepper in the middle of the pot. Pour in chicken broth. Turn the heat to medium high and bring the broth to a simmer.
    • Cover the pot and put it in the oven and cook for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Serve with fluffy white rice and sliced green olives.
    Keyword Yassa


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