April 19, 2009

Spicy peanut stew

Duck, everyone. Here comes another recipe for peanut stew to make its way through the blogosphere. Like we need another, but what can I say? I just had to do it.

After a lovely recent dinner at the home of friends, I decided to exploit Elena's cooking skills and bring home her fabulous recipe for peanut stew. Of course she'd made it up, based on an African version of this dish, since she had lived in Africa. She couldn't remember exact quantities, but she was game to try. She painstakingly recalled all the ingredients, quantities and cooking times, and I carefully transcribed them, hoping to recreate her luscious stew at home and then post the recipe. So where did I put the recipe? It was nowhere to be found. My son convinced me to just make it anyway, since he was in the mood for peanut stew, so I made a list of what I could remember and we headed off to Trader Joe's to fill in the missing ingredients.

Elena used cauliflower, cabbage and swiss chard (I think) but I wanted broccoli and Jordan wanted sweet potatoes. I remembered that she'd used a large amount of garlic and ginger. There was peanut butter and crushed tomatoes, and I added kidney beans and hot peppers. I used the frozen "mystery peppers" from last summer's garden, and although I tasted them, I misjudged their heat and the stew was hellishly spicy (in a good way!). Although I was planning to add plain crushed tomatoes, I was attracted to a can of fire roasted chopped tomatoes and green chilies that was on special at TJ's, so that went into the stew. Jordan really wanted coconut milk, and although I wasn't in favor of it, I gave in and added some. I thought the stew tasted better before the coconut milk, and he thought it was better after. Actually, it was fantastic before and after, but I'm leaving it out. It's my recipe!

I cut my sweet potatoes a little too big and I had to simmer the stew nearly an hour before they were soft, which made the total cooking time, including prep, about two hours. I would serve this stew to company on a day when I had time to cook rather than as a busy weekday meal. It's easy to make and tastes wonderful.

Peanut stew (6-8 servings)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1–2 jalapeños (or 1 red or green sweet pepper if you don't want it spicy)
  • 2 stalks broccoli (about 4 cups chopped into bite-sized pieces)
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large carrot, cut into 1/4 inch rounds, or your favorite way (I like 1/4 "-thick rectangles)
  • 5 large cloves garlic, minced fine (about 2 tablespoons minced)
  • 1 tablespoon finely cut fresh ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can crushed (or diced) fire roasted tomatoes or tomatoes with green chilies
  • crushed peanuts, cilantro or parsley for garnish (optional)
  1. Sweat the onions. This means to place them in a thin layer of olive oil (about 1 tablespoon) in a pan (I used a heavy 4-1/2 quart cast iron dutch oven) and cook over very low heat with a tight fitting lid. Stir often and cook until they are somewhat translucent. I cooked mine about 15 minutes. (Probably because that's how long it took me to prepare the garlic and ginger!)
  2. While the onions sweat, mince the garlic and ginger. Add them to the pan when the onions are ready, and continue to cook, covered, while you cut the pepper.
  3. Add the pepper to the pot and cut the broccoli.
  4. Add the broccoli and cook, covered, while you cut the sweet potato. (Don't make the sweet potato pieces too big!)
  5. Add the sweet potato and 1 cup of water. Cover and cook while you cut the carrots. Then add the carrots and replace the cover.
  6. Open and rinse the beans. Add the beans, tomatoes, cinnamon, cumin and sugar. Stir in the peanut butter. (It's a lot easier to stir in the peanut butter if it's at room temperature.) Add the second cup of water and bring to a boil.
  7. Turn the heat to simmer, and add the tamari.
  8. Simmer over low heat until the vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. If the stew seems too thick, add a little veggie broth or water. I like mine thick.
  9. Serve over white or brown basmati rice and garnish with crushed peanuts, cilantro or parsley, if desired.

It wasn't this blurry in person!
The second night I served it over rice noodles, and we added some frozen okra. I'm not a big okra fan but Jordan says it's his favorite vegetable.

There are 8 million recipes for peanut stew in the Naked Blogo-City, and this has been one of them . . .

12 comments:

  1. I looove peanut stew! I use a very similar recipe, it is so delicious.

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  2. Never too much peanut stew, I say! And I just LOVE that addition of okra the second day. . . now, THAT made it perfect! ;)

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  3. Ohhh, looks tres tasty and I am in lust with that plate!

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  4. I'm with Ricki, there's never too many peanut stew recipes. Unlike Ricki, okra is never in my kitchen! I love that you put broccoli and red beans in the stew.

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  5. Thanks! I asked for it, and now I promise to make it!!!

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  6. There can never be too many recipes for peanut stew!

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  7. WHen something tastes good, there can never be enough. That looks delicious!

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  8. Alisa,
    Thanks for the comment. I agree that p-nut stew is delicious.

    Ricki,
    I thought of you as I added the okra! It looked so pretty and tasted okay but still . . .

    Holler,
    Thanks. Happy Herbivore has the same plate/bowls! I got mine (4 different ones that coordinate) at the secondhand store and they make things look more festive.

    Diann,
    My son likes okra. Ahem.

    Claire,
    Let me know how it turns out!

    Mihl,
    Thanks. I hope there's room for lots of variations.

    Kris,
    Thanks. We thought it tasted great.

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  9. Hi Andrea, great blog! :) We haven't tried any peanut stew recipe at all, just guzzled down Willy St Co-op's version, but we will try yours for sure. Maybe subbing shiitakes for broccoli? Definitely using okra.

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  10. Thanks for the comments, Marina. Now I'm nervous about how my stew will stack up against Willy St. We haven't tried theirs but we love this one!

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  11. This looks fantastic!

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  12. iRaw,
    Thank you for your comment!

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