How to Make a Delicious African Peanut Stew

I was resting in my bunk when the enticing aroma of African Peanut Stew compelled me to the kitchen of the Methodist Guest House in Bo, Sierra Leone. Who can resist the soothing childhood smell of peanut butter forced into adulthood by a strong dose of jalapeños and garlic? The Modern Church Lady was in Sierra Leone with her fellow Methodists from Morrow Church in Maplewood to visit the school the congregation had helped fund.

So, when I got home, I recreated the stew with the help of the caretaker’s recipe and some research on the internet. I packed my version with all of the colorful vegetables that healthy eating articles are always exhorting us to consume on a daily basis. I also created a Vegetarian version using chick peas. This past Sunday, we whipped up a batch in the church kitchen for a lunch program where we shared an update with the congregation.  The recipes are made to feed a crowd.

African Peanut Stew with Chicken

Makes 12-14 Servings based on ½ lb. chicken per person

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 jalapeños (more or less to taste)
  • 2-inch knob of ginger (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 8 small Maggi seasoning cubes or Season-All Season Salt
    • NOTE: Maggi is not gluten free so use Season-All Salt for a gluten free version
  • 2 whole chickens, chopped into pieces (appx. 10-12 pieces per chicken) or approximately 6-7lbs of chicken pieces (I like bone-in, skin-on Chicken thighs)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 bunches spring onions (scallions)
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups peanut butter
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 bunches of kale or collard greens, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 Sweet potato cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • Optional: For a more robust stew, add other vegetables such as red/yellow/green pepper slices, green beans or red/green cabbage (about 2 cups), anything that can hold some texture during the stewing process
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt
  • Water
  • Chopped peanuts for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Rice or Quinoa (cooked)

Directions

  1. Clean and roughly chop the onions, tomatoes, and spring onions (scallions). Set aside.
  2. In food processor, grind together garlic, ginger and desired number of jalapeños.
  3. Season chicken pieces to taste using Maggi seasoning or Season-All. Add garlic/ginger/jalapeño mix to seasoned chicken. For extra flavor, let chicken sit for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator with the spice mix
  4. Place seasoned chicken pieces in large stock pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 – 10 minutes.
  5. Remove the chicken from pot. Set stock aside for later use. Or you can skip steps 4 &5 and simply use 6 cups of chicken stock
  6. In another large stock pot, heat ½ inch of vegetable oil on medium to medium-high heat. Carefully add chicken pieces to oil and fry until lightly browned. Remove chicken from pan and drain off excess oil. (TIP: to avoid overcrowding your pan, fry chicken in batches)
  7. Using the same oil from frying the chicken, add cumin, onions, spring onions and tomatoes and cook over medium heat until softened.
  8. Add kale, sweet potato and extra vegetables, if using
  9. Add peanut butter to vegetables and cook until combined, stirring.
  10. Add reserved stock to the peanut butter mixture. Simmer over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes. (If stew seems too thick, add water or chicken stock to mixture to increase volume)
  11. Add chicken pieces and tomato paste to peanut butter mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer over medium heat for 20 – 40 minutes, until thickened.
  12. While stew is cooking, make rice of choice to pour stew over. Or if you are avoiding carbs, the stew tastes good over quinoa.
  13. When the stew has thickened, remove from heat and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes. It will continue to thicken slightly.
  14. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve over rice or Quinoa and enjoy!

Adapted from: Fudia’s Groundnut Stew and One-Pot African Peanut stew

Maggi Cubes

About Maggi Seasoning: Maggi seasoning is made from fermented wheat proteins and is not gluten free. It tastes like a combination of soy and Worchester sauce. 

  • Interesting Maggi Fact #1: there are nine different formulations of Maggi around the world. I used the Maggi I bought on a recent trip to Switzerland but you can get Nigerian Maggi on Amazon.
  • Interesting Maggi Fact #2: Nestlé has to sell individual cubes in many African countries in order to make it affordable.

Vegetarian African Peanut Stew

Makes 20 Cups of Stew

Ingredients

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 jalapeños (more or less to taste)
  • 2-inch knob of ginger (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 8 small Maggi seasoning cubes or Season-All Season Salt NOTE: Maggi is not gluten free so use Season All Salt for Gluten Free Version
  • 4 cans chickpeas, liquid drained
  • 2 pounds butternut squash cut in cubes
  • 2 teaspoon cumin (or more to taste)
  • 3 medium onions
  • 2 bunches of spring onions (scallions)
  • 5 medium tomatoes
  • 1 ½ cups peanut butter (ground nut paste)
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 2 bunches of kale or collard greens, stems removed and chopped
  • 1 Sweet potato cut into cubes (about 2 cups)
  • Optional: For a more robust stew, add other vegetables such as red/yellow/green pepper slices, green beans or red/green cabbage (about 2 cups), anything that can hold some texture during the stewing process
  • 6 cups of vegetable stock
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Water
  • Chopped peanuts for garnish
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish
  • Rice or Quinoa (cooked)

Directions

  1. Clean and roughly chop the onions, tomatoes, and spring onions. Set aside.
  2. In food processor, grind together garlic, ginger and desired number of jalapeños.
  3. Season chickpeas using Maggi seasoning (contains gluten) or Season-All. Add garlic/ginger/jalapeño mix to seasoned chickpeas. For extra flavor, let chickpeas sit for a couple of hours in the refrigerator with the spice mix
  4. In a large stock pot or pan, heat ¼ inch of vegetable oil on medium to medium-high heat. add cumin, onions, spring onions and tomatoes and cook over medium heat until softened.
  5. Add kale, sweet potato, butternut squash and extra vegetables, if using
  6. Add peanut butter to vegetables and cook until combined, stirring.
  7. Add vegetable stock to the peanut butter mixture. Simmer over medium heat for 5 – 10 minutes. (If stew seems too thick, add water or vegetable stock to mixture to increase volume)
  8. Add chickpeas and tomato paste to peanut butter mixture. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to a simmer over medium heat for 20 – 40 minutes, until thickened.
  9. While stew is cooking, make rice of choice to pour stew over. Or if you are avoiding carbs, the stew tastes good over quinoa.
  10. When the stew has thickened, remove from heat and let sit for 5 – 10 minutes. It will continue to thicken slightly.
  11. Garnish with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Serve over rice or Quinoa and enjoy!

Adapted from: Fudia’s Groundnut Stew and One-Pot African Peanut stew

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