Imagine you have just arrived in the Peruvian Amazon. It is late at night and you are tired, overwhelmed, dripping with sweat, and faced with a sea of mosquitoes and mototaxi drivers all too eager to take you anywhere you want. You have a guesthouse reservation but no mototaxi driver will take you there because it is too “dangerous” – and you don’t know if they are referencing poor road conditions or Amazonian jungle thieves.  You eventually find one brave soul who will take you most of the way and catch yourself clutching your passport and wallet as you round each treacherous, muddy bend in the road. After pushing the mototaxi on multiple occasions through three-feet of mud, the driver gives up, turns around, and leaves you in the “dangerous” darkness. After wandering around aimlessly in a less-than-hospitable-looking area, you finally find the guesthouse. The French (?) owners welcome you, make you sit down in their wonderful tropical-island-like oasis, and hand you a piping hot bowl of Senegalese chicken. You suddenly are aware of just how hungry you are and decide on the spot that this chicken is just about the most delicious thing you have ever eaten!

I have had dreams of this meal ever since and have always wanted to make it. This challenge finally provided me with the motivation!

From what I recall - my version of Senegalese chicken resembles the dish I had in Peru

From what I recall – my version of Senegalese chicken resembles the dish I had in Peru

The recipe: The guesthouse owners told me the ingredients, but alas, I have since forgotten the details so I decided to go with this recipe from the Washington Post.

Quick recap: I used boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a jalepeno, but I otherwise followed the recipe for the most part.

On their way into the oven (alas, in retrospect, I should have moved them closer to the broiler!)

On their way into the oven (alas, in retrospect, I should have moved them closer to the broiler!)

The verdict: I knew I wouldn’t be able to replicate the amazingness of that meal that I had in the Peruvian jungle. But it was worth a shot. I shouldn’t have used chicken breasts – too lean. And the rich flavor and spice was just missing. I still may make it again, but I will try out a different recipe (or worst case, hop on a plane back to the jungle)!

photo (75)

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