I’m thinking I need to start buying peanut butter by the gallon. A fair amount of the peanut butter we buy disappears into the ether (and by ether, I mean Mark’s stomach). And that would be fine, but recently, a fair amount has also gone into making dinner, meaning that peanut butter is perpetually on the shopping list.
Not that I'm complaining. I’m really starting to love using the nut paste in savory dishes, and this chicken peanut stew (common in African cuisine, called "groundnut" stew) from Simply Recipes is no exception. While it may be a little heavy for the increasingly warm weather, it is really good, with nice layered flavors. It will also feed two people for 3 or 4 days, making this a pretty budget-friendly recipe.
- 2-3 pounds chicken legs and thighs
- 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow or white onion, chopped
- A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 12 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
- 2 1/2 lbs sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
- 1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 quart chicken stock
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp cayenne, or to taste
- Salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
First, I hauled out my big stock pot and in it, heated the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. I seasoned the chicken well, then browned it in the pot in batches, setting the pieces aside once they were nice and golden all around.
Turning the heat down just a tad, I threw in the onions and sautéed them for 5-6 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits of chicken off the bottom of the pot. Once the onions were translucent, I added the ginger and garlic, sautéed another 1-2 minutes, then added the sweet potatoes.
Once the veggies were all in, I added the chicken back to the pot, along with the chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne. I gave it a good mixing to make sure everything was combined, then brought it all to a gentle simmer and covered it, letting it cook for about 90 minutes (until the sweet potatoes were tender). Periodically, I checked the stew for seasoning and stirred.
After the 90 minutes was up, I fished out the chicken pieces and shredded the meat off the bones, then added the meat back into the pot. At this point, I let the stew cool and put it in the fridge for the next day.
When we were ready to eat the next day, I gently reheated the stew over medium low heat, then added a tbsp or so of black pepper (apparently, this is supposed to be peppery, which is just fine by me), along with salt as needed. Finally, I stirred in the cilantro and enjoyed the hearty stew over steamed white rice.
Mark noted that this recipe is a keeper, and I agree. The bold flavors of individual ingredients (garlic, ginger, coriander, tomato, cayenne, cilantro) do a nice job of adding complexity and cutting through the richness of the peanutty base. But not too much. After all, in our household, peanut butter is always the star.