“I’ll have a Yassa Poulet!”

As soon as we tasted our first Yassa Poulet – chicken in caramelised onion sauce served with rice – we were hooked; so much so that Tanya pestered Yass to teach her how to prepare it as soon as he gets back.
Getting peckish? Fear not. If you, too, want to feast on this Senegalese signature dish, you can make it yourself in no time. Now go out into the yard and chase that chicken!

This classic Senegalese dish utilizes the marinade by cooking it down into a sweet-tart sauce for the grilled chicken. This recipe first appeared in our May 2012 issue along with John O’Connor’s story A Feast For All.

SERVES 4-6

Ingredients

13 cup cider vinegar
13 cup fresh lime juice
2 tbsp. minced ginger
1 tbsp. lime zest
2 tsp. coarsely cracked black peppercorns, plus more to taste
1 tsp. cayenne
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, thinly sliced
1 habanero or Scotch bonnet chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt, to taste
1 tsp. whole allspice
2 lb. bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs and drumsticks
2 tbsp. peanut or canola oil, plus more for brushing
Cooked white rice, for serving

Instructions

Combine vinegar, juice, ginger, zest, pepper, cayenne, garlic, onions, chile, bay leaf, and salt in a large resealable plastic bag; add chicken and seal bag. Refrigerate, tossing chicken with marinade occasionally, for at least 4 hours.
Heat oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Remove chicken from marinade, and working in batches, add to pot and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 8 minutes; transfer to a plate. Add allspice to pot, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Pour marinade through a fine strainer, reserving liquid, and transfer solids to pot; cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add reserved liquid and chicken, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Continue cooking onions until liquid evaporates and onions are lightly caramelized, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and pour onions over chicken; serve with rice.
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