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Chicken Kedjenou – Kedjenou De Poulet

Traditional kedjenou cooks in a canary, but ours is made in a dutch oven. Left untouched, chicken bastes in kedjenou seasoning, vegetables, and flavorful aromatics. Very little liquid is added, resulting in a highly concentrated, savory stew you’ll love.

I must give credit where credit is due; this recipe would not exist if not for the sweet lady we met at a farmers market in Colorado. I was drawn to her table laden with spice blends of her own creation. We sampled many of the seasonings she had to offer. However, I was blown away by a spice labeled kedjenou.

After a brief description of the dish and shared goodbyes- on down the rabbit hole, I went. Before the end of the night, I attempted to learn everything there was to know about kedjenou. Though I’ll never be able to recreate the same incredible flavor she had in that little spice packet, I honor her and the food she loves with this recipe.

WHAT IS KEDJENOU

This stew traditionally cooks in a clay pot, called a canary or canari, over an open flame. Basting inside a sealed canary allows the chicken to simmer with the flavor from the spices, vegetables, herbs, and the chicken itself.

The word kedjenou means to ‘move or shake’ and refers to the practice of shaking the canary side to side several times throughout the cooking process to prevent sticking or burning inside the sealed clay pot. I don’t have access to a canary, though I wish I did because it sounds like it would be fun to cook this way. I achieve a similar result using a dutch oven, and you better believe I take every opportunity to shake the dutch oven back and forth in the cooking process, because why not!

WHAT YOU NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE

  • Chicken: Use bone-in and skin-on thighs, legs, or a combination of the two. You can also break down a whole chicken and use that in the stew. You might be tempted to remove the skin or make this recipe with boneless chicken, don’t. You likely don’t know me because I am just and random lady on the internet, but if you trust anything I say on this page it’s this- cook the chicken with the skin on. I can’t, in good conscious, let you miss out on all that flavor and depth.
  • Kedjenou Seasoning: Like all good spice blends, kedjenou seasoning varies from home to home and kitchen to kitchen; this recipe contains the spice blend we use in our home.
  • Vegetables: I love the combination of tomatoes, onions, green bell peppers, garlic, carrot, and eggplant.
  • Ginger Paste: Ginger paste flavors the stew and highlights other ingredients.
  • Maggi: I use Maggi and water in place of stock for this recipe. It’s flavorful, easy, and something I always keep in my pantry. I must admit that when I originally made this recipe for my friends from the Ivory Coast I used another brand of bouillon and they immediately noticed. Maggi is the way to go!
  • Bay Leaves: Bay leaves subtly flavor the stew.
  • Thyme Sprigs: Fresh thyme provides earthy sweetness.

HOW TO MAKE KEDJENOU

Our taco seasoning recipe stored in an air-tight container.

PREPARE- Preheat the oven to 350.° Then, in a small bowl, add the ingredients for kedjenou seasoning; stir to incorporate.

Before frying, the chicken is coated with kedjenou de poulet seasoning.

SEASON- Combine three tablespoons of seasoning and chicken in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, and set it aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

I fry the chicken in a dutch oven before adding the remaining ingredients for kedjenou de poulet.

PAN SEAR- Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, then add the chicken thighs; saute skin-side down for 3-4 minutes.

A signature of kedjenou de poulet, a variety of vegetables are added to the Dutch oven for maximum flavor.

SAUTE- Add tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger paste, carrots, eggplant, and the remaining kedjenou seasoning to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it becomes aromatic.

Herbs and remaining ingredients for kedjenou de poulet are added to the Dutch oven to braise.

BAKE- Next, gently stir in water, Maggi, bay leaves, and thyme. Nestle the scotch bonnets into the liquid if using them, then cover the pot with aluminum foil followed by the lid. Place it in the oven to cook for 1 hour. Remove the dutch oven to shake back and forth 2-3 times during the cooking process, as is custom.

A dutch oven full of kedjenou de poulet ready to serve..

SERVE- Remove the stew from the oven, and place it in a serving dish to cool. Eat as is, over a bed of rice, or with traditional attiéké, fermented cassava.

SEARCHING FOR MORE LIKE THIS? 

If you love this recipe, we hope you will try one of these tasty stews and soups!  

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS 

  • FRIDGE – Properly stored in an air-tight container, the stew will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator.
  • FREEZE – You sure can. First, allow the dish to cool completely. Then, add it to a freezer-safe container or bag. Kedjenou can freeze for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to eat, defrost it in the fridge overnight.
  • REHEAT – For best results, warm it on the stovetop to serve, and enjoy!

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What variations of kedjenou can I try?

Chicken is most way to prepare kedjenou, but you could make this same recipe with beef, lamb, goat, fish, and other seafood. Feel free to experiment with the vegetables too; the vegetables used in kedjenou most often are tomato, onion, bell pepper, and eggplant. Other vegetables to include are carrots, green onions, potatoes, and okra. Ivorian food is know for being SPICY! Feel free to add habaneros or a more tradition, scotch bonnet, for a bit of heat.

YOU SHOULD ALSO TRY: 

Chicken Kedjenou – Kedjenou De Poulet

Tressa Jamil
Chicken kedjenou is widely popular in the Ivory Coast, a place known for its savory, slow-cooked stews. Ours bastes in kedjenou seasoning, vegetables, and flavorful aromatics for a meal you'll enjoy all year long.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 25 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine African, Ivorian
Servings 6 bowls
Calories 347 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the Soup:

  • 2 pounds chicken thighs and legs, bone-in and skin-on
  • ½ cup kedjenou spice, divided
  • 5 large tomatoes, diced
  • 2 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • ½ eggplant, cubed, 1-inch pieces
  • 2 medium carrots, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cube Maggi
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6-7 thyme sprigs

For the Kedjenou Seasoning:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin, ground
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • 2 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper, coarse ground

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 350.° Then, in a small bowl, add the ingredients for kedjenou seasoning; stir to incorporate.
  • Combine three tablespoons of seasoning and chicken in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine, and set it aside to marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat, then add the chicken thighs; saute skin-side down for 3-4 minutes. You may have to work in batches, then return the chicken to the pan.
  • Add tomatoes, onion, bell pepper, garlic, ginger paste, carrots, eggplant, and the remaining kedjenou seasoning to the pot. Cook for 2-3 minutes until it becomes aromatic.
  • Next, gently stir in water, Maggi, bay leaves, and thyme. Nestle the scotch bonnets into the liquid if using them, then cover the pot with aluminum foil followed by the lid. Place it in the oven to cook for 1 hour. Remove the dutch oven to shake back and forth 2-3 times during the cooking process, as is custom.
  • Remove the stew from the oven, and place it in a serving dish to cool. Eat as is, over a bed of rice, or with traditional attiéké, fermented cassava.

Notes

  • Nutrition Disclosure: The nutritional information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for professional advice.
 
  • Web Story: Check out our web story for kedjenou!

Nutrition

Serving: 1 bowlCalories: 347kcalCarbohydrates: 17gProtein: 45gFat: 11gSodium: 670mgFiber: 4gSugar: 7g
Keyword kedjenou
Did you make this recipe? Let me know how it turned out for you! Leave a comment below and follow @thejamilghar or tag #thejamilghar on Instagram!
Recipe Rating




Calee Cortes

Sunday 22nd of May 2022

Gonna be honest, I was scared of the whole bone in, whole chicken situation, but it was really delicious and not at all scary. I love all the veggies and that you can make it as spicy as you want!

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 12th of June 2022

This is music to my ears. I love introducing people to new cuisine; I hope it's a meal you continue to make.

RJ

Thursday 19th of May 2022

I loved this chicken stew! I wish I could have it every day. It is so healthy and filling. I don't like tomatoes and do not mind them at all in this dish.

Tressa Jamil

Sunday 12th of June 2022

What a kind comment. Thanks for letting me know you enjoyed it, and that we could make you love tomatoes. just a little bit.