It's almost Christmas time! I made an easy West African inspired Christmas dinner that I thought I would share with you this year. It's a little different, a little offbeat but why not? I've never really been a fan of spending the whole day in the kitchen slogging for those massive Christmas dinners.
So for my African Christmas dinner I made:
Jollof Rice, Spinach and Egusi Stew, Boiled Plantain, Fried fish, Kelewele, Suya, butter and thyme seasoned Roasted Guinea Fowl (you can use chicken) and Waitrose Red Velvet cake (which.. before you say anything tastes good. It's not Hummingbird Bakery good, but great for shop bought cake). Of course you can substitute this with you favourite Christmas pudding.
Cooked following the steps below, this Christmas dinner should take you around 2hrs, then you can put your feet up and relax. It serves around 4 people easily. If you're cooking for more people, you can double the amounts but it might take you slightly longer.
What you will need:
For Roasted Guinea Fowl
1 Medium size guinea fowl or chicken
2 Tablespoons suya spices, 3 tablespoons soft butter, 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
For Spinach Egusi
1 Jar of Egusi stew sauce, 300g Spinach, 2 Tablespoons ground egusi seeds, 1 teaspoon crayfish powder
For Jollof Rice
1 Jar of Jollof sauce, 400g easy cook or basmati rice, curry or favourite seasoning
For Fried Fish
2 or more tilapia or sea bream fish, oil for frying
Salt and pepper
For Squash and rocket salad
1 Small butternut squash, 1 Small packet wild rocket salad, Pumpkin seeds
2 Ripe plantain
1 Teaspoon Kelewele spices (blend equal amounts of cinnamon,cloves, nutmeg and come cayenne pepper) , small onion and half a knob of fresh ginger
6 Ripe plantain
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees. Mix the suya, butter, thyme and salt to taste into a paste. Keep 1 tablespoon soft butter aside. Season the cavity of the chicken with salt and pepper. Stuff the bird with the butter mix from the neck end, carefully using your fingers to release the skin covering the breast for the paste to spread over the breast, beneath the skin. Rub the remaining 1 tablespoon softened butter over the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Pop the bird on a tray breast side down and cook in the oven for 1 1/4 hrs - 1 1/2hrs. Turn it around after 50 mins to brown the other side.
Peel the pumpkin squash, cut into equal sized small chunks, season with a little salt and oil then put in the oven to roast until soft then set aside to cool
Follow instructions on how to make spinach egusi here. Once this egusi paste is in the sauce cooking for 15 minutes, start on the jollof rice
Follow the recipe for jollof rice here
While the jollof is cooking, wash the 6 plantains, skin on - put in a large pot and cover with water and a little salt. Put on high heat to cook for about 25 minutes or until soft then drain the water. Leave the plantain skin on to keep them warm until ready to serve.
Blend then onion, ginger and kelewele spices with a bit of water into a paste - set aside. Cut the 2 remaining plantains into small pieces. In a small bowl, mix with the kelewele paste and set aside.
Check progress on the bird in the oven, jollof and spinach egusi. When the chicken/guinea fowl is ready, set aside for the bird to rest before serving.
Season your fish ready to fry, the fish and kelewele are the last dishes to be done because you want them to be nice and crunchy on the outside. So once all the other dishes are done you can fry the fish then the kelewele plantain until they are golden brown.
Once everything is cooked and set, toss the roasted pumpkin with a couple of handfuls of rockets salad. Make a quick vinaigrette with equal amounts of oil and vinegar, salt,pepper and honey/sugar to taste and drizzle on the salad.
That's it! You are done. Now serve and have a glass of wine or ten and be merry!