Irio as made by Browns’s mom
While the sun is in the North our days are shorter if only by a few minutes here on the equator. But for most of our readers it is high summer and that means Barbeque Season!!
For Kenyans, Barbeques are known as NYAMA CHOMA. They are everyone’s favorite meal here too. The Kikuyu and Meru people make a wonderful vegetarian dish that is perfect to serve alongside a barbeque. It is called IRIO and can easily be made days ahead and just warmed up.
To get it right I consulted with my longtime professional friend Brown Mwebia, the Chef of the Mount Kenya Safari Club. Brown was born on the slopes of Mount Kenya where most of the Kenyan Vegetables are grown. His mother, who he describes as the best cook he knows (not unlike most men), first taught the young inquisitive boy the basics of cooking.
After graduation as a Chef from Kenya’s only hotel school, Utalii College, Brown worked in several African countries. Finally he found his way ‘home.’ Brown has been one of the Chefs at the Mount Kenya Safari Club for many years now.
When I asked him about his version of IRIO, he was surprised that this simple “dish from home” should be so desirable. A few days later he supplied me with this recipe.
Try it instead of the usual baked potato and corn. It’s delicious.
Irio as made by Brown’s mom
For 8 to generous proportions:
- 3 Pounds potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 2 pounds of fresh long leaf spinach, chopped including the stalks
- ( or 2 10 ounce packets of frozen chopped spinach)
- 2 white onions, finely chopped
- 1 pound shelled garden peas
- 1 pound sweet corn kernels
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 pints chicken stock
- ½ stick butter
- ½ pint sour cream
- Finely chop the onion and garlic and sauté in some butter until soft
- Add the chopped spinach, potatoes, peas and sweet corn
- Sauté everything in butter for about 12 minutes
- Now add the chicken stock and simmer for approximately 25 minutes, or until potatoes are soft. Drain excess stock
- Use a potato masher to mash everything until is has the consistency of lumpy mash, with some of the peas and corn left intact
- Now add the sour cream
- Use Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, and vegetable spice to taste. (I bet you can’t stop tasting).
Serve in an earthenware or rustic dish with a bold wooden spoon.
The written recipe Brown gave me also had this advice as below lest I should forget!!
- Wash your hands before you Start.
- Check all food by dates.
- When sanitizing the equipment Make sure it is soaked in the Warm water solution.
- When tasting, use a clean spoon.
- Clean and sanitize all work surfaces. Prevent cross contamination.
Well done, Brown’s Mom!!!