Liberian Peppered Chicken & Shrimp (Chicken Gravy)

Peppers of all kinds – red and green bell, Scotch bonnet, habanero, and others – are staples of Liberian cuisine. This recipe combines two varieties to add surprising depth to this Liberian favorite.

Chicken Gravy can be found as a part of the Liberian Thanksgiving celebration on the first Thursday of November. It’s generally considered to be a day for Liberians to give thanks for their freedom and the founding of their country. Like in the United States, people gather for a special meal, as well as concerts and dancing.

Liberian Chicken Gravy- Peppered Chicken and Shrimp

A Liberian staple, Chicken Gravy tastes complex with a spicy heat complimenting the dish's richness. Best of all, everything comes together in just one pan. Serve with rice.
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Course: Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine: African, Liberia, West Africa
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Marinate: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings: 6
Author: My Hungry Traveler

Equipment

  • Large heavy skillet
  • Food Processor or blender

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp Kosher salt

Marinate

  • 6 Chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
  • 1 tsp Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp Black pepper
  • ½ tsp Onion powder
  • ½ tsp Garlic powder
  • ½ tsp Cayenne pepper

Sauce

  • 1 large Onion, roughly chopped
  • 4 cloves Garlic, peeled
  • 1 large Tomato, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Fresh basil or parsley
  • 1 cube Chicken bouillon
  • 2 medium Habanero peppers, stemmed (or another hot chili)
  • 2 tbsp Olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 oz Tomato paste
  • 1 cup Chicken stock
  • large Red bell pepper, sliced very thin
  • ½ cup Fresh green beans, cut into 3 pieces
  • 12 oz Large shrimp, cleaned

Instructions

  • Marinate Chicken – Mix together marinade ingredients in a seal-top plastic bag. Add chicken thighs and massage chicken to ensure everything is coated. Let sit 30 minutes.
  • Make Sauce – Meanwhile, puree onion, garlic, bullion cube, fresh herbs, 1 chili pepper, and tomato in a food processor or blender.
    Preheat oven to 425°F (220C). Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once oil is shimmering, add shrimp and cook until pink and translucent, about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl. Once pan is very hot again, add chicken skin-side down. Cook, undisturbed, until the skin turns golden brown, 3-5 minutes. Transfer chicken to a plate, leaving juices behind.
    Lower heat to medium and stir tomato paste into the juices in the skillet. Cook, stirring occasionally until it become fragrant and darkens, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in the pureed ingredients and cook 5 minutes more. Add chicken stock and cook another 2 minutes to incorporate the flavors.
    Stir in bell pepper, other chile pepper, and green beans. Nestle chicken thighs in the pan, skin side down.
  • Bake Chicken Gravy – Place skillet in the oven and bake until sauce gets a slushy texture, 30 to 35 minutes.
    To serve, transfer chicken thighs to a serving platter. Sprinkle shrimp over and then top everything with the sauce. Serve with rice.

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