118. Liberia: Okra Plantain stew

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Liberia it was supposed to be a sort of Utopia. The American Colonization Society founded Liberia in 1821 as a place for free African Americans to migrate to. More than 10,000 made the journey across the Atlantic. Of course, there were already 500.000 living there. Which wasn’t the best mix, to say the least.

Liberia has a history of bloody civil wars involving child soldiers and other gruesome acts. Fortunately ever since the previous President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came in office things have been relatively peaceful. Unfortunately just when things seemed to have calmed down politically the EBOLA virus hit Liberia hard in 2014! Now the nation is officially Ebola-free per the WHO, and it’s struggling economically to recover.

With travel restrictions lifted, tourism can play a huge role in this. So here is a peace I 100% copied from the lonely planet website “Liberia, a lush, green, friendly and vibrant land, offers everything from excellent surf spots and shops selling wares by edgy local designers to days spent lolling in a comfy hammock on the edge of the rainforest while listening to tropical birds sing. It’s home to one of West Africa’s best national parks and still hangs on to a confident American spirit mixed with West African roots. And despite the ravages of the past, it is a fantastic place to travel, full of hope and energy.”

Soooo everybody go to Liberia! It’s beautiful and they could really use your money 😛 .

Schermafbeelding 2018-01-19 om 00.44.30

Things you didn’t know about Liberia:

  • The vast majority of African countries have never had a female leader. But Liberia has one right now. Introducing Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, president since 2006 and known as Africa’s Iron Lady.
  • Liberia is among the 20 countries on Earth that smoke the fewest cigarettes per capita – just 104 per adult per year. Montenegro, where 4,124.53 cigarettes are smoked per adult per year, according to 2014 figures from the WHO, is top of the pile, while Belarus, Macedonia, Russia, Slovenia and Bosnia also make the top 10
  • The second largest tropical rainforest in West Africa, the Sapo National park is located here. It has around 125 species of mammals. It is home to the rare pygmy hippopotamus.
  • Oprah Winfrey had traced her ancestors back to the Liberian region of Kpelle.

Okra is something you have to get used to, you either love the gelatinous structure or you don’t. Luckily I happened to love it! Which I why I really liked this hearthy stew!

okrastew

Ingredients:

  • tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1/2 pounds beef stew meat (cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt (divided)
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (freshly)
  • 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • garlic cloves (sliced)
  • tablespoon mustard seeds (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • cups sweet potatoes (cubed peeled, about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • cups unsalted beef stock
  • 28 ounces plum tomatoes (drained)
  • cups okra (1/2-inch-thick slices, about 10 ounces)
  • green plantains (large, peeled and cubed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  1. Heat a large Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil
  2. Sprinkle beef with 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add half of beef to pan; cook 4 minutes, browning on all sides.
  3. Remove from pan. Repeat procedure with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and beef.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until soft, scraping pan to loosen browned bits.
  5. Add 2 teaspoons mustard seeds, coriander, and cumin; cook 1 minute. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon salt, beef, sweet potato, stock, and tomatoes; stir to break up tomatoes. Cover; bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 25 minutes. Stir in okra and plantain; simmer an additional 25 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 teaspoon mustard seeds and fresh cilantro.

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