7 Sep 2011, 9:56am
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  • Of Food and Love: African Peanut Stew

    I’ve made a lot of things.  And the more I experiment the more excited I get about spices.  They tend to repeat themselves in certain ethnic dishes.  The taste will vary but the essence is the same.

    My good buddy, Ana, introduced this one to me.


    This would be the second African dish I’ve made.  The heat/spice factor and peanuts are a definite repeat.  I laid off the Cayenne and black pepper for obvious reasons.  But all in all I would say this is a hearty dish.  

Served over steamed white rice and accompanied by a soft Italian bread.  D had two and a half bowls on the first night and two and half bowls on the second night.  Cylas ate 90% and Roma just took one bite and decided that was enough.  That really surprised me, because she is my adventure eater.  While I was chopping the sweet potatoes, she was grabbing them by the fistful, munching contentedly.  They were raw!  I thought for sure she would scarf her little bowl of stew.  No go :(

    The recipe calls for a cup of peanut butter.  I was a little shocked at the amount but dumped it in anyway.  Maybe I should have cut it in half.  I also thought that it would taste different if the peanut butter was all natural.  That is definitely something to consider when making this again.  ALL natural.  Skippy just wasn’t cuttin’ it.

    The amount this recipe makes can feed a small army.  I now have two half-gallon ziploc freezer bags full…waiting for the right moment to be unfrozen and served hot.  Possibly around the holidays?  Me thinks, yes.  Less cooking for me.

    My kitchen smelled amazing and I couldn’t keep D from peeking over my shoulder or getting in my way, trying to see what was making all these fabulous smells.  Fresh minced ginger, cilantro, garlic…yeah, a small foodie tornado in the nostrils.

    This is the soup we’ll be eating when it’s 10 degrees out and even our bones are shivering.  Bring on the winter!  We’ve got good belly warming food.

    African Peanut Stew::    COURTESY OF SIMPLY RECIPES

    serves 6-8

    The recipe recommends using chicken legs, thighs or wings because they hold the flavors better than the breast meat.

    Ingredients

    • 2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings.  *I used only drums.  It’s our favorite*
    • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
    • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
    • A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
    • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
    • 2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks.  *I would suggest using only 2 lbs.  3 proved to be a little much*
    • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
    • 1 quart chicken stock
    • 1 cup peanut butter *either use all natural peanut butter or only a half cup…*
    • 1 cup roasted peanuts
    • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
    • Salt and black pepper
    • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

    Method

    1 Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don’t crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.

    2 Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.

    3 Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.

    4 Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.

    5 Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.

    I’ve made this dish three or four times now. I like the amount of peanut butter, probably in part because I love all Thai peanut butter based dishes and this has a similar flavor for me. I like the fact that its easy to kick up the spice in this dish as well. I’ve found that it often tastes even better on day two :)

    7 Sep 2011, 11:05am
    by Mommy Hobbies

    reply

    Yes, the ability to make this knock your tongue out of the park is there! Thank you for introducing this to me :) ))

    I am SOOOO gunna try and make this. Thanks!

     

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