Gluten Free · New Favorite · Vegan · Vegetarian

West African Peanut Stew

Peanut Stew is featured today thanks to this great recipe prepared by fellow Grandma-in-law (grandson Evan’s other Grandma), Chris, for our potluck last week as mentioned in Tuesday’s post.

She adapted the recipe per her notes below and it was absolutely delicious!  The original recipe serves six and is easily adaptable to vegan, omitting the chicken and using vegetable broth.  I will add this recipe to my favorites.

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW

“A hearty stew that’s super-easy to make and great for peanut butter lovers. Can be made vegetarian or with chicken. In a pinch, feel free to use vegetable or corn oil for peanut oil, powdered ginger for fresh, water for stock, etc. Kale works well in place of collard greens.”

2 tablespoons peanut oil (I used coconut oil)
one half onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh ginger (I prefer to slice them thick so you can fish it out)
a pinch of sugar to caramelize onion
1 pound chicken, cut into chunks (optional)
1 tablespoon crushed red pepper, or to taste (which for me was none)
I added about a tsp of cinnamon
salt and ground black pepper to taste
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
3 small sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 (16 ounce) can chopped tomatoes, with liquid
1/4 pound collard greens, roughly chopped
1 cup chunky peanut butter

  • Heat the peanut oil in a large pot over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion, garlic, and ginger in the hot oil until softened, about 5 minutes.  (I used Costco rotisserie shredded chicken, so I didn’t add it until the last step, since it was already cooked)
  • Add the chicken; cook and stir until completely browned. Season with the crushed red pepper, salt, and black pepper. Pour the chicken stock over the mixture. Stir the sweet potatoes into the liquid and bring the mixture to a boil; reduce heat to low, cover the pot partially with a lid, and cook at a simmer for 15 minutes.
  • Stir the tomatoes, collard greens, and peanut butter into the soup. Partially cover the pot again and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, another 20 minutes. (Mine simmered for about 30 minutes longer than that. I used a potato masher and crushed up the sweet potatoes and tomatoes a little after the recipe’s 20 minute simmer, so it would be thicker rather than chunky.)

I had extra collard greens and one review suggested to sauté them as garnish along with chopped peanuts.

The original recipe was found on Epicurious.

 

Book Club · New Favorite

Poisonwood Bible and African Themed Potluck

Poisonwood Bible (1998) was our recent Book Club read. I remember trying to read this great book in the late ’90s but work, teenagers and life interrupted  my reading experience.  I was delighted when our Book Club added the book to our 2014 list. While the book is long, the time flew by as I read this marvelous book by Barbara Kingsolver.

The book was originally suggested to me by my sister-in-law, Betty, when they were living in Malawi, Africa on a medical and education mission. During their time in Africa, Betty wrote many emails to family and friends capturing the many wonderful and tragic moments there.  Poinsonwood Bible brought back a flood of memories from her stories.

Our book club always begins the evening with a potluck dinner with a theme from the book, so African recipes it is! Betty was kind enough to mail me her cookbook, The Malawi Cookbook:

Malawi Cookbook
Malawi Cookbook

The cookbook was originally published in 1972 by the Malawi Ministry of Health to raise money for children’s vaccinations and the Save the Children fund.  Malnutrition is one of the leading causes of morbidity in young children in developing countries.

The recipes are fascinating and I will keep a few for my future cooking experiences, although I doubt I will ever serve Bee Larvae, Flying Ants, Grasshoppers, Crickets and Locusts.  Instead, I decided to use the eggplant recipe that Betty shared directly with me. I love eggplant, made any which way, so this was a perfect choice. As Betty shared, Mashed Eggplant is served everywhere during harvest season.

Other wonderful dishes shared at our dinner were Ingera (sponge bread), Chicken and Peanut Stew (recipe to appear in Friday’s post), Fried Plantains, and an array of Ethiopian dishes from a local restaurant.

I took several wonderful pictures of the Eggplant and Peanut Spread, to later discover I didn’t have my memory card in my camera. My apologies but let me assure you the dish was a big hit, even for those that confess to not liking Eggplant. Serve this spread with wedges of pita bread or, for those eating gluten-free, a gluten free cracker.

The only change I would make the next time I make it, would be to roast the eggplant in the oven to decrease the amount of fat in the dish.

Eggplant

MASHED EGGPLANT & PEANUT SPREAD

2 pounds eggplant, peeled and sliced
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter (in Malawi, they would use local made groundnut butter)
salt and red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Prepare the eggplant in the usual way of slicing, salting, weighing down the eggplant during the two hours you are extracting the liquid and bitterness.  
  • Pat dry, then fry eggplant slices for about five minutes in the olive oil, turning once.  
  • Mix and pour remaining ingredients over the fried slices, mash with fork, then serve with pita wedges.  (I admit to having used a food processor which made the finished product a bit smoother).