Saturday, June 19, 2010

Burkina Faso

Burkinabe Riz Gras and Spiced Lamb Balls with African Hot Sauce

I made this meal on Thursday, June 17 for my parents, Sarah and Andy. We all enjoyed every aspect of this dish.

The national dish of Burkina Faso is riz gras, which translates to "fat rice." It is a dish very much like Spanish rice; it is chicken and rice simmered in a spicy tomato sauce. The inclusion of two habaneros made me concerned that it would be too spicy for our Minnesotan palates, but, in my opinion, it had just the right amount of heat. When dealing with habaneros, be sure that you wear gloves to keep the capiscum from the peppers off of your hands. If you prefer spicier dishes, then don't seed the habaneros. I did, and it was just right. There was definitely heat, but no discomfort, and it didn't knock out the other flavors of the dish. Riz gras was fairly simple to prepare, and was made mostly of ingredients that we already had on hand.

The spiced lamb balls took quite a bit more effort to prepare, but were delicious. The meat is spiced with cinnamon, ginger, coriander, red pepper and garlic. I loved it because they were sweet and savory at the same time. They'd be super good in a pita with some tzatziki (for a more Mediterranean flavor), or served as they were, with African hot sauce. African hot sauce is a spicy red pepper and tomato sauce that is very common in African cooking. It tastes like a spicy marinara.

Please click on the title of the recipes to see the original recipes.

Riz Gras

-3 garlic cloves
-2 hot chiles (I used habaneros)
-1/2 onion, finely chopped
-4 tomatoes, chopped
-1/2 c. vegetable oil
-1 lb. chicken, cubed
-4 T. tomato puree
-2 c. chicken stock
-2 c. + 3 T. white rice
-salt and pepper

1) Grind garlic, chiles, onion and tomatoes in a food processor to make a paste.
2) Add 1/2 c. oil to a large skillet and add paste mixture.
3) Put over medium high heat and simmer for 8 minutes.
4) Place chicken in a large metal frying pan. Use a little water to rinse the food processor and add this to the pan. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
5) Transfer the meat to the large skillet and stir in tomato puree. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
6) Add the rice. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.
7) Check the water. Reduce to a veery gentle simmer and continue cooking, covered, for a further 10 minutes (all water should be absorbed).
8) Serve immediately.

Spiced Lamb Balls

-4 T. peanut oil
-1 c. yellow onions, chopped coarsely
-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
-1 tsp. ginger
-1 tsp. garlic powder
-1 tsp. crushed red pepper
-1 tsp. ground coriander
-1 tsp. salt
-2 lbs. ground lamb, cooked
-3 large eggs, lightly beaten
-1/4 c. breadcrumbs
-breadcrumbs to roll meatballs in
-peanut oil for deep frying

1) In a large skillet, sauté onions with cinnamon, ginger, garlic powder, crushed red pepper, coriander and salt in peanut oil until soft, but not brown.
2) Mix cooked lamb into onion mixture. Pulse a few times in a food processor to combine.
3) Blend eggs and breadcrumbs into the mixture.
4) Form into 32 small 1" balls. Roll each ball in more breadcrumbs.

About to be chilled
5) Chill for one hour.
6) Deep-fat fry at 375 degrees until brown, about 4 minutes.
7) Spear balls with toothpicks and serve with pilli-pilli sauce (I accidentally made African Hot Sauce instead).

African Hot Sauce

-12 chile peppers (i.e. hot red peppers)
-1 small green pepper
-1 clove garlic
-1 medium onion
-2 cans tomato paste
-4 T. vinegar
-1 tsp. salt
-1 tsp. sugar

1) Remove stems and seeds from peppers.
2) In a food processor, grind peppers, garlic and onion.
3) Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Simmer for 1-2 hours. Add cayenne pepper if desired.

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