Poulet Yassa

When I settled on what Senegalese dishes to make, I was most excited about this one. I love any kind of chicken-rice combination but this recipe also said I could throw in some olives, which is what I was really looking forward to. I will take any opportunity to cook with olives because there aren’t many! I’ve always loved olives. My cousins used to make fun of me because when we’d eat dinner at this very fancy restaurant called Golden Corral, I’d always load up on olives at the salad bar. I only ate from the salad bar at Golden Corral, which I’m sure my mom appreciated because having a child that enjoys eating vegetables is a rarity but now that I’m older and I know how dirty they are, I’m surprised I’m still alive. Maybe that’s why I rarely got sick as a kid; I was basically exposed to every germ in Uvalde by eating from that salad bar. Thanks Golden Corral!

This was pretty easy to make and I avoided burning the rice by being able to use my rice cooker. Yay! I broiled the chicken to avoid having to fry it and it did give it a nice browning but I should have left it in there a little bit longer. I did not use a whole chicken because I really hate chopping up a chicken. Instead I used chicken thighs and a cut up breast just to have some variety. Every time I eat chicken thighs, I’m amazed it took me so long to become a dark meat convert. I always disliked what I considered the slimy texture of dark meat and that weird gristle on drumsticks so for as long as I can remember, I stuck to white meat. It wasn’t until about four years ago that I decided to try dark meat. A co-worker was talking about how much she loved it because it was so flavorful and then I read an article where they, too, extolled the wonders of dark meat so I decided to try it. The bad part was I was three weeks pregnant and greasy food did not agree with my first trimester of pregnancy so I promptly threw it up and avoided it for another year. I tried it again later on, hoping I wouldn’t barf it up, and realized I’d been missing out! Also, I didn’t barf it up. That was the true victory.

I didn’t have as many onions as the recipe required, even when halving it, but I don’t think it affected it too much. I did add the optional mustard and I think that made a huge difference when paired with the olives. It gave the whole meal a great vinegary taste and many people aren’t fans of that bitterness but I love it. The rice soaked up the grease perfectly so much so that it reminded me of a sopa. The literal translation of sopa is soup but when my mom made sopa de arroz con pollo, there was a lot less liquid and more rice and chicken.

We all loved it. Well, James and I did. The girls weren’t very hungry for whatever reason so they just had yogurt for dinner. Regardless, we had three great meals for Senegalese week. Every meal was super enjoyable and I’ll be making all three again.



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