For most rural villages in Senegal, chicken is only eaten for holidays and special occasions. Not because poultry is specifically saved for holidays, but because of its high price in both money and time. For the community of Darou Diadji, feeding your family poultry meant leaving your children behind in the village for a day while you traveled to the Guinguineo market. This market is over 10 kilometers away and is known to be quite expensive since most of the produce is imported.
However, as part of CREATE!‘s five year self-development program, Darou Diadji began raising poultry in the village a few years ago. With the help of CREATE!‘s technicians, the community built their own poultry shed. The technicians then trained community members in the care, management, and marketing of poultry. Within a few months Darou Diadji was running a business. Today, many chickens are raised, sold, and eaten right from the village.
Supporting Her Family’s Needs
Since Darou Diadji founded a community poultry shed, many families throughout the village have been benefitting. Awa Diop, a mother of three says, “Before, it was very difficult for us to eat chicken because we had to go to the Guinguineo market for buying it and it was very expensive. But now, we are able to eat chicken and gain money in the market.” The excess poultry is sold to neighboring communities and in the market. Because chicken is very profitable in rural Senegal, it has become a great income generating opportunity for families along with an excellent source of protein.
Today, families in Darou Diadji not only have a means to generate income but they also have been able to provide their children with a healthier and richer diet. Awa tells us, “We know the importance of chicken and how rich it is in protein. Since we have this poultry shed we eat more chicken.”
A Traditional Senegalese Recipe
We are excited that Darou Diadji, and many more of our partner villages are running successful poultry sheds from their communities! We would like to see this prosperity spread across villages in rural Senegal. In celebration of the success of our partners, we’d like to share a traditional Senegalese chicken recipe with you from Panning the Globe. Bon appetit!
Senegalese Chicken Yassa
Author: Panning the Globe (https://www.panningtheglobe.com/senegalese-chicken-yassa/)
Total Time: 2 hours
• 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
• 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
• For Browning and Braising the Chicken
• 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
1. 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.
2. Brown the Chicken: Preheat the oven to 350ºF. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Serve with fluffy white rice and sliced green olives.