Monday, June 11, 2012

African Peanut Chicken Stew

I ran into two variations of the recipe - one from Senegal and another from Zimbabwe.  The two dishes were similar but had slight variations.  I decided to try and combine the two recipes to come up with a dish containing parts of the Senegal and the Zimbabwe recipes that I liked best.  After all cooking should really be done to one's own liking.

When it came to the vegetables, I made a few adjustments to my liking by using mushrooms, Long Chinese Green Beans and a Japanese eggplant.  However, there were many more options I could have included or substituted.  In the future I may try this dish with okra, butternut squash, and even the leafy baby bok choy.

After simmering the meat and vegetables for a half-hour, I tasted the sauce.  To be honest I was a little disappointed at that point since it was a bit bland.  Once the peanut butter and the Serrano peppers were added to the brisk simmer, I began to smell the flavors come through and gave it another quick taste.  It was surprisingly mild in terms of peppery kick, but had a very nice peanutty taste that didn't overwhelm the dish.  It was good.  However, a thought that ran through my mind was to possibly try incorporating coconut milk  into the recipe in the future.  Somehow I think using coconut milk instead of chicken broth, might compliment the peanut flavor.

The finished product turned out to be very satisfying.  The chicken meat stewed to a fall-off-the-bone tenderness and the tomatoes, onions and even some of the eggplant practically dissolved into the base of the stew to flavor the sauce.   Served over rice with a touch of salt to taste and I was quite happy to have given this tasteful dish a try.   Serve this dish with a side of rice or bread.

African Peanut Chicken Stew

Servings: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 60 minutes


1.5 lbs. Chicken -- Legs and Thighs (bone-in)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion diced
2 Medium Tomatoes chopped
6-8 Crimini Mushrooms sliced
1 Small Japanese Eggplant cut into cubes
8 Chinese Long Green Beans cut into 2 inch lengths
10.5 oz Can Chicken Broth
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
3/4 Cups Boiled Water (more if necessary)
2 Serrano Peppers Sliced.

Step 1: Browning the Chicken - For this dish use a large skillet with lid that can hold  a lot sauce or use a Dutch Oven.  Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and heat to medium high.  Add the chicken legs and thighs and brown the meat on all sides (about 5 minutes).  Throw in the diced onions and tomatoes and saute the ingredients for an additional 5 minutes.

Step 2: Simmering the Meat & Vegetables -- Lower the heat to medium low.  Add the mushrooms, eggplant, green beans and chicken broth. Stir the ingredients together, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Peanut Sauce -- While the stew is simmering, bring about 2 cups of water to a boil. Place the Peanut Butter in a large bowl and add a little of boiled water to it at a time.  Stir the peanut butter with a fork to make a smooth light paste adding more hot water as necessary.  The finished paste should be smooth enough to be easily poured out of the bowl.

Step 4: Adding Peanut Sauce and Chilies to the Stew -- After the meat and vegetables have simmered for half an hour, pour in the peanut sauce and add the sliced chilies.  Stir the ingredients together and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat back to a slow simmer, cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes.  Make sure to check the dish every five minutes to stir and keep the peanut sauce from clumping.

Tip: Use diced Habenero Peppers instead of Serrano peppers for a spicier kick.

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