Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recipe: African Chicken Stew

I’ve been craving African Peanut Stew since seeing this recipe a few months back. It’s something I’ve made a couple times, including one version in school. But seeing this one inspired me to improvise a new recipe that was better and healthier than any I've had before. Traditionally made with lots of peanut butter, this stew can be rich. My version reduces the amount of peanut butter, amps up the spices, and tosses in lots of flavorful veggies and roasted chicken. To accompany, I served quinoa with shredded coconut, scallions and cinnamon. This is a flexible recipe... toss in whatever vegetables you have on hand, make it veggie only by substituting beans for the meat (I bet garbanzos would be good), play with the seasonings, or switch up the additions to your grain.

2 tbsp peanut oil (coconut oil would also be great, or you can use EVOO)
1 onion, sliced in half and then strips
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
Ginger, 1 inch piece peeled and minced
½ tsp cumin
¼ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp coriander seeds, toasted and then ground
½ tsp garam masala
Cayenne pepper, to taste (optional)
Jalapeno pepper, chopped (optional)
1 tbsp tomato paste
4 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 sweet potato or yam, cut into ½ inch cubes
½ cup mushrooms, quartered
1 cup canned diced tomatoes (I used Trader Joes with jalapenos)
¼ cup peanut butter (smooth or chunky both work)
Approx. 2 cups roast chicken, cut into small bites
Kale or chard, 1 bunch thinly-sliced (stems removed, these can be added in earlier if you want to use them since they take longer to cook)
Salt, to taste

1 small bell pepper (any color you’d like), chopped
Scallions and/or cilantro, sliced

Quinoa- (Bring all to a boil, turn off heat, cover and let sit 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork when done. If liquid remains put on low heat uncovered, stir occasionally and watch carefully so it doesn’t burn)
¾ cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 ½ cup water or broth
Small handful shredded coconut
1 scallion, sliced
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Heat oil over medium in a large pot or dutch oven. Add onion and saute until tender (but not caramelized), add garlic and ginger and cook for a minute. Add spices, tomato paste and jalapeno (if using). Cook one more minute, stirring to combine well.

Add in chicken stock, diced tomatoes and all vegetables except the greens (kale or chard). Cover and simmer for approx. 20 minutes, or until potato is almost tender. Stir in peanut butter, chicken and greens. Cover and simmer another approx. 10 minutes, until greens are cooked. Add salt and adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve over quinoa or other grain topped with the bell pepper and herbs.

6 servings