Sometimes you need to cook a restaurant-grade meal at home that is equal parts spicy, savory, and nutty. And thanks to this fantastic recipe from Bon Appetit for Poul Ak Nwa (chicken with cashews), you’ll be prepared to whip up an aromatic, Haitian meal in no time. The key to this tasty recipe is the Haitian spice blend known as epis, which also makes a fantastic marinade for pork or fish by the way.
- 8 cloves of garlic
- 1 small onion, coarsely chopped
- 3 scallions, coarsely chopped
- 1 cup of loosely packed parsley leaves
- 1 red and green bell pepper, each with ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
- ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of thyme leaves
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
Begin preparing this Haitian seasoning base by blending or processing your red bell peppers, green bell peppers, onions, scallions, parsley, garlic, vinegar, oil, lime juice, and thyme in a blender or food processor until smooth. This should generate about three cups. The epis could be made about 2 weeks ahead of time. Transfer the blender contents to an airtight container and either chill or pour into ice cube trays and free for up to three months.
- 2 pounds of bone-in chicken thighs with skin removed
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 cup of raw cashews
- 4 cloves
- 2 tablespoons of fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- 2 plum tomatoes, finely chopped
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- ½ green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, thinly sliced
- 1 habanero chile
- 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of double-concentrated tomato paste
- 1 ¼ teaspoon of Morton kosher salt, plus more
- 1 teaspoon of ground black pepper
- Bring the cashews and three cups of water to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. You’ll want to simmer until the cashews crumble but don’t disintegrate when pressed between your fingers (approximately 45-60 minutes). Drain the cashews and set them aside.
- Mix your chicken, garlic, cloves, lime juice, parsley, thyme, a copious amount of black pepper, 1¼ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and ¼ cup of the epis in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot until your chicken is coated.
- Nestle the chile in the center of the pot, cover, and set it over medium heat. Bring it to a simmer and cook until the chicken is nearly cooked through and a lot of the juices have cooked out; this will take about 30 minutes. Transfer the chicken mixture to a medium bowl, scraping any remaining seasonings out of the pot with aheatproof rubber spatula.
- Pour some vegetable oil into the same pot and increase the heat to medium-high. Then, use tongs to return the chicken to the pot, leaving the juices and chile behind in the bowl. Cook the chicken until it’s browned all over while occasionally turning it over (about 5-10 minutes). Reduce the heat to medium-low, add tomato paste, and cook while stirring often and adding 1 tablespoon of chicken juice if it’s starting to burn. Cook for about 2 minutes- just until the paste is slightly darkened in color. Add the tomatoes and cook until they start to soften (about 4 minutes).
- Add your reserved chicken juices, cashews, and reserved chile to the pot while making sure that you are keeping the chile intact. You’ll do this because an open chile will add a lot of heat. Pour ½ cup of water into a bowl and swish around to pick up any seasonings that were left behind, and then pour it all into the pot. Bring this chicken mixture to a simmer, cover it, and cook until the chicken meat is falling off of the bone, about 20 minutes. Stir in onion and bell pepper, re-cover the pot, and cook until vegetables are softened but still retain some bite (about 5-10 minutes). Remove the chile from the pot and discard. Taste your dish of poul ak nwa and season with more salt or pepper, if needed.
- To serve, divide your cooked jasmine rice among shallow bowls and ladle the poul ak nwa over. Iif needed, this dish can be made 1 day ahead if you cover, chill, and reheat it over medium-low heat before serving.
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