#65: Togo

How’s it going, food friends!?

I hope this week found you enjoying good food and friends– it was National Dog Day on Wednesday and it’s Denver Restaurant week! 5280 Magazine puts out the list of the best and brightest food venues in the metro area and then people flock to devour all the yummy eats. It’s filled with new and fresh faces, as well as old standbys: Cherry Cricket, Linger, Osterio Marco, etc. I love this state for it’s views, people and active lifestyle, but I stay for the food and music scenes. There’s never a dull moment in the 303 and that’s something we are all thankful for.

THE DINNER: The origin of Jollof rice is a subject of great debate in West Africa, as many countries have their own version, and abhor “inauthentic* variations. We of course will be making the Togolese variation for the blog this week…and here’s where I believe it’s going to differ from other neighboring countries: the meat. Typically all things held equal, the meat is what sets jollof recipes apart. The recipe gives you free interpretation at the point you add the meat and you’re able to add chicken, beef and/or pork in ratios or unilaterally.

We picked pork in the form of bacon and chicken for our proteins. We also used our reserve of Jasmine rice on this one. We decided about halfway through that it felt a whole lot like we were making the Togo version of fried rice. I mean, this had all the components and apart from cooking the rice in the juices, it was very akin to that. Nothing was super complex, and the recipe was easy to read and ingredients were variable as discussed above given taste preference and availability.

Jollof Rice Recipe: http://www.hungrylittlegirl.com/1/post/2013/07/jollof-rice.html

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OVERALL COUNTRY SCORE:

Ease of prep and cooking: TWO STARS out of five this meal!
Whenever you start off with frying rice and add veggies to it, you’re in for a little bit of leg work. Prep on meals like this tend to involve a lot of peeling, chopping, and preparing veggies. You then have to fry the meat. Then the rice. Then things get to hang out in a pot and “get happy” as my mother puts it, so that’s fairly easy. Overall, this one was a well structured recipe so that made things simple. We gave it a two out of five for difficulty more because it’s just some time involved, but many hands make light work. Have at it!

Best dish of all time scale: FIVE STARS out of five for Meal!!
That’s right— we had another five star meal… this rice was begrudgingly good. I mean, we wanted to find a fault in it. We wanted to make sure we aren’t padding the grade book, but honestly, there’s no way we can get away without a five on this one. This deserves every star. It’s delicious. It was not so much spicy as peppery and it had this wonderful, intoxicating bacon fat thing going on that is just beyond words. It’s like the Togo version of fried rice meats gumbo. It had a tomato base and with the veggies (carrots, beans, bell pepper) it felt more hearty than just fried rice. It was so quick and dirty that we are excited to revisit this one and already have discussed our own family adjustments to Jollof rice– in true Togolese fashion. This will make a few guest appearances in our rotation.

For the next stop off we are jet setting to Iran for country #66! 

Toodles Poodles!
– L & K

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