I absolutely love sharing a little bit of my culture with y’all. But you know, I only have a few Liberian dishes in my arsenal. Eggplant stew is one that is super easy and absolutely delicious. It is usually served with white rice but to keep things Whole30 friendly, you can serve with cauliflower rice or potatoes.
There are a few reasons I love dishes like this. First, is that it all comes together in one pot. One pot meals are always great because well, less dishes to clean up. But it also allows you to be creative and try new textures and flavors that work well together.
Why i love eggplant stew:
Of course another reason I love this dish in particular is because it brings me right back to my childhood. Right back to Grandma making dinner while telling us stories from her youth. Yes it was a good time in our house. Grandma Toulia only made African dishes once or twice a week but when she did, it was always a treat. I wish I was being more receptive when she cooked Liberian dishes growing up. But, now I’m trying to really making an effort to learn how to make more authentic Liberian meals.
I mean, one of these days I would like a little rugrat or two and I want them to be able to enjoy some traditional Liberian food. So, I really have to get my shit together and learn how to make more of these dishes. Or I could just have my sister or aunt continue to cook them for me when I want. You know, it’s a journey we will see where we end up.
Ok I think I’ve done enough chatting, let’s jump into the recipe!
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An easy and delicious stew with a little West African flare.
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
1/2 tsp black pepper, plus more to taste
1 lb. bone-in, skin on chicken thighs, trimmed of any excess fat and cut in half
1/4 cup avocado oil
1 onion, diced
1 habanero pepper, chopped *spicy* SEE NOTES
4 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 large tomato, diced
2 eggplants, peeled and diced
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp fish sauce
1 tsp adobo seasoning
1 1/2 cup chicken bone broth
To begin, make the spice rub. Combine the paprika, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. Pat the chicken thighs dry using paper towels. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the chicken and use you hands to rub the spice mixture all over the chicken pieces. Set aside.
Heat the avocado oil over medium-high heat in a large deep skillet or Dutch oven. Add the chicken pieces, skin side down, and sear for 5 minutes. Flip and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Remove the chicken pieces from the pan and set them aside. If your pan is not wide enough to sear all the chicken at once, sear them in 2 batches. You want to get some good color on the chicken so don’t overcrowd the pan.
To the same pan add the onion, habanero pepper and garlic and season with a coupe pinches of salt and pepper. Stir and sauté for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent. Now, lower the heat to medium, add the tomato and eggplant to the pan, stir and sauté for 5 minutes. Cover the pan and continue to cook the eggplant for about 20-25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. At this point, the eggplant should have wilted down to about half of what you started with and it should be tender and almost translucent. Now, add the tomato paste, fish sauce and adobo seasoning to the pan, stir and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes. Pour the broth into the pan and stir to lift up all the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Cover and simmer for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste the stew and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Return the chicken pieces to pan and nestle them into the stew. Simmer for about 10-12 minutes, uncovered and serve with white rice or cauliflower rice.
*Habanero pepper is very spicy, so if you’re not a fan of heat, I recommend using only half or omitting it all together and adding a 1/4 of a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes.
Keywords: Eggplant stew, one pot recipes