Over the years I have seen recipes for peanut soup or stew but somehow never got around to making them. So when I saw a recipe this month in our local paper, I decided it was finally time to give it a whirl. I cannot say whether this recipe is absolutely authentic, but I can say that it is delicious. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe which was by Ellie Krieger. Assume that all of my spice measurements mean “rounded.” It’s colorful, delicious and something you can eat guilt-free. Served over some plain boiled rice or other grain of choice and you have one stick-to-the-ribs meal.
West African Peanut Stew with Chicken by Ellie Krieger and tweaked by me
Yield: 4-6 servings
1.5 pounds of boneless skinless chicken (breast or thigh) cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
About 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 Tablespoons of Peanut or Grapeseed oil
1 large onion, peeled and coarsely chopped
3 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 Tablespoons grated, peeled ginger (I use the stuff that I get in the jar in the produce section)
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 cups of low-sodium chicken broth (you could use vegetable broth if you prefer)
1 can (14.5 ounces) of diced tomatoes with juice (I like “fire-roasted” but any will do)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2-inch dice
1 bunch of collard greens with the leaves torn off of the tough rib into medium pieces
2 large sweet bell peppers (red, orange or yellow), seeded and cut into 2-inch dice
1 or more large dried Arbol pepper (optional)
1 cup natural-style peanut butter – chunky or smooth
About 6 Tablespoons of roasted and salted (or unsalted if you prefer) peanuts, roughly chopped
- I prefer to use dark meat chicken and I trim off any excess fat. I find it has more flavor than white meat and doesn’t get tough or stringy in the way that white meat chicken does. It’s your choice, however. Once the chicken has been cut, season it with about 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper. In a 4 quart (or larger) heavy pot with a lid, add one Tablespoon of the oil and heat it to the point where the chicken will give out a nice hiss when added. Cook the chicken until all of the raw look is gone and the chicken is opaque. Move it around in the pot while it cooks. This will take about 4-5 minutes. Using tongs or a slotted spoon, remove the mostly cooked chicken to a plate or bowl, lightly cover it with foil and set it aside.
- Add the remaining oil to the same pot. Don’t worry if there is a little liquid in the pot or if there are bits of chicken that stuck. Heat the oil and add the onion cooking until it is softened – about 3 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, and the spices as well as the remaining salt. Cook stirring for about 30 seconds or until the spices start giving off their fragrance.
- Stir in the chicken stock, tomatoes with their juices, the sweet potato, collard and bell peppers. Add the Arbol pepper if using. Bring the mixture to a boil. Partially cover the pot and reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter and stir through the pot until it is incorporated.
- Return the chicken to the pot and mix through. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste to adjust seasonings and serve hot with roughly chopped roasted peanuts on top.