Ashanti Chicken

Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Medium

  • Makes about

    8

    servings

Appears in

The Ghana Cookbook

By Fran Osseo-Asare and Barbara Baëta

Published 2015

  • About

“Ashanti fowl” is a legendary Ghanaian recipe. The dish is essentially a combination galantine/ballontine—it is made from a whole deboned chicken that is stuffed and roasted, and eaten with Ghanaian gravy. It is special largely because it looks like a regular roasted chicken until it is cut. The printed recipes first appeared in Gold Coast Nutrition and Cookery (GCNC) published in 1953, and later in Alice Dede’s 1969 Ghanaian Favourite Dishes. The original recipe used bread for the stuffing, but later versions substitute African yam. Barbara Baëta’s 1972 version uses cooked mashed yams or potatoes in the stuffing. A starchy potato, like a russet, with a bit of flour added is one substitution for African yams. Or bread can be substituted.

What follows is a slightly adapted version of the recipe we prepared at Flair. Ashanti chicken is definitely a special occasion dish.

Ingredients

Chicken

  • 1 whole chicken, any size (roaster preferred)
  • ½ teaspoon salt or seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried ground red pepper
  • 1 seasoning cube, crumbled (optional)
  • Vegetable oil for basting (optional)

Chicken stock

  • Bones and giblets from deboned chicken
  • Seasonings of choice: onion, garlic, ginger
  • Salt and pepper

Stuffing

  • 2 pounds African yams, or 2 pounds russet potatoes and 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Several pureed fresh tomatoes, seeded and peeled if desired
  • Salt to taste
  • Dried ground red pepper to taste
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons creamy natural-style peanut butter (no sugar added) or butter
  • ½ cup bits of cooked chicken from the stock (optional)
  • Ghanaian Basic Tomato Gravy for serving

Special equipment

  • Small sharp deboning knife (if doing deboning yourself)
  • Twine and needle (for sewing up the stuffed chicken)

Method

Directions

Prepare chicken

  1. The first task is to debone the chicken. There are several ways to complete this task. The goal is to remove the bones, leaving the meat and skin intact. If you want to try to do this on your own there are numerous online video tutorials that can provide guidance. Save the giblets and heart from the chicken for use in making stock. Remove as much excess fat as possible while working through the deboning process. If this is too daunting, ask your butcher to do it for you, asking him to keep the whole chicken intact with as much of the skin intact as possible and to give you the bones and giblets for making the stock.
  2. Once the chicken is deboned, season the inside of the chicken with the salt, ground red pepper, and seasoning cube, if using. Fold the skin over the chicken and let it marinate, refrigerating the chicken while preparing the stock and stuffing.

Make the stock

  1. Put the chicken bones and giblets in a stockpot with some water, onions, garlic, salt, ginger, pepper, etc. (whatever seasonings desired) and simmer to make stock while making the stuffing and the chicken is roasting. Once the bits of chicken left clinging to the bones and giblets are cooked, they can be removed and added to the stuffing. Use some of the stock to make the Ghanaian Tomato Gravy and reserve the rest for another use.

Make stuffing

  1. Peel and cut the yams into thick slices and then cut them in half (or peel and quarter potatoes, if using). Boil in salted water until just cooked, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  2. Very lightly mash the yams or potatoes with a fork or masher (do not whip). If using potatoes, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Mix in the onion, garlic, pureed tomatoes, salt, dried ground red pepper (a little at a time until desired heat), and peanut butter or butter. Add some of the bits of leftover cooked chicken from making the broth.

Stuff and roast chicken

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, open it up, skin side down, and spread the stuffing evenly over it, pushing some extra into the drumstick and wing sections. Sew the chicken closed with some kitchen twine and a needle.
  2. Brush the outside of the stuffed chicken with a little vegetable oil and sprinkle with some salt or any desired optional seasonings.
  3. Place in a roasting pan and roast at 375 degrees F for about 75 to 90 minutes, until a thermometer pushed into the thickest part of the chicken reaches 185 degrees F. Use the juices in the bottom of the pan to baste the chicken several times while it is cooking (add a cup of water to the roasting pan if there are no juices). If the chicken browns too quickly, cover the drumstick/wing/breast sections as needed with aluminum foil to protect them.
  4. Make Ghanaian Basic Tomato Gravy using some of the chicken stock.

To serve

Serve the chicken with the tomato gravy on the side.

Variations

Experiment with the stuffing by chopping, not mashing, the potatoes or yams, or by including chopped okra, mushrooms, nuts, etc.