African Peanut Stew

My neighbor gave me a wonderful cookbook for Christmas called “The World of Street Food” by Troth Wells. It’s a beautiful collection of recipes from all over the world for those delicious, aromatic goodies you smell cooking on street corners everywhere.

The first thing I made with my 15 year old was Baozi which are Chinese steamed, meat filled dumplings. Yum, yum and yum.

For New Years, we decided to try Mafe or African Peanut Stew. I have a limit to the amount of fussiness I am willing to endure in my cooking. It’s pretty low. This recipe came close to that limit but it was definitely worth it. The basics of the sauce were taken from the cookbook. I modified the rest of it. This is one of those dishes that smells so good, you can’t wait for it to be done. You will find yourself dipping bread in the sauce and fishing out little bits of chicken to see if it tastes as good as it smells. Trust me. It does.

1 lb chicken
2 onions, sliced in thin rings
1 cup peanut butter
4 TBSP tomato paste
2-3 cups chopped and roasted root vegetables (I chose sweet potatoes and parsnips)
2-3 cups chopped celery and carrots, boiled, stock reserved
cayenne pepper or 2-3 whole chilis

Chop your root vegetables and place them in the oven on a pan sprayed with cooking spray and roast at 375 for 30 minutes.

Place the chopped celery and carrots in a small pot (no more than 2 quarts) and cover with water and bring to a boil, cooking for 15 minutes. Drain and reserve the liquid.

Saute the chicken, cut into small chunks with the garlic until the chicken is cooked. Set aside. In the same pan, cook the onion until translucent. Add the peanut butter, tomato paste, and one cup of the reserved liquid and stir until smooth. Add the chicken, onions, vegetables and spices. You can add whatever amount of spices you are comfortable with. I like a little kick in my food, so I probably added about a teaspoon of cayenne, a teaspoon of ginger and a half a teaspoon of cinnamon.

The sauce should coat the chicken and vegetables. If it’s too thick, gradually add more of the reserved liquid. Simmer for 30 to 60 minutes. Don’t let it get too dry.

While eating an apple today, I thought how great this would be with some chopped apple, specifically Granny Smith. If you decide to add apple, do so about 15 minutes before serving.

The recipe calls for all the veggies to be boiled. It also suggests using cabbage, eggplant or turnips. You can also use 1/2 of cooked beans instead of chicken. It has also been pointed out to me that with gluten free peanut butter and spices, this is a very tasty GF recipe! PS: I hear McCormick Spices (made in Maryland) are gluten free!

Serve over rice.

I took leftovers for lunch and there was a small gathering of curious onlookers by the microwave. Okay. They were just waiting their turn. But a couple of them said it smelled pretty good!


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