Healthy African Peanut Stew
On a snowy day in March, Tim and I took a road trip to Emigrant and Gardner and on the way, we stopped at the Bozeman Community Food Coop to grab some lunch. We had a bowl of African Peanut Stew while the snow accumulated outside the coop’s cafe windows and we worried a little whether we would make it in our old Toyota. That soup hit the spot! I decided right then that I would try to invent a version we could eat on our Nutritarian diet, and I did that tonight. Yes, I used a small amount of meat (chicken,) a little olive oil and a little salt (all these are ingredients we are trying to avoid more or less) but overall I think this version is a bit healthier (for us) than other recipes for the same soup. Plus it was souper- delicious.
Since we are avoiding salt as much as possible, I added lots more ginger than most recipes call for plus 4 times as much garlic, some chili powder, lots more cumin and a little curry powder. Ups the flavor big time! How you spice up your soup is a personal decision. I like it with a little heat, and lots of flavor. I also added celery, bell pepper and chick peas, which I hadn’t seen in other African Peanut Stew recipes. You could also leave out the meat to make this a vegetarian/vegan recipe. Anyway, here’s our version:
Healthy African Peanut Stew
Serves 8 to 12 — makes a large crock pot of soup
- 1 # chicken thighs or breasts
- 2 T olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 20 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
- 4-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
- 1 large red yam, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 1 bell pepper yellow or red, chopped
- 1 26-ounce box of chopped or diced tomatoes
- 1 can chick peas
- 1 quart low-sodium vegetable stock ***
- 1 cup no-salt peanut butter
- 1 T chili powder
- 1/2 t. or more cumin
- 1 t. curry powder
- 1/2 t. red chili pepper flakes (to taste)
- Fresh grated black pepper
- 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro (half of this is for garnish)
- Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Cut the chicken into small pieces and brown in the oil with the onion and garlic.
- Add the ginger, celery and bell pepper and sauté a couple more minutes.
- Add the broth, chick peas, tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, spices and half of the cilantro and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer.** Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken and yams are tender
- Season for salt and heat, then add alot of black pepper
** I started the soup on the stove, then decided to finish it for a couple of hours in our slow cooker (crock pot) this worked perfectly, since I didn’t have to stir it to keep it from scorching on the bottom.
*** Add more or less liquid depending on whether you are going for a soup or a stew. If you make a stew, it’s great on rice.
I use alot of fresh ginger in our diet. This is how I prepare it. Grating the fresh ginger takes awhile, so I first peel it (don’t worry about getting ever bit of peel off) then I use a small food processor (that came with our larger food processor) to grind it into very small pieces, almost as small as a grater would do it. It takes just a minute — literally — to process a big chunk of ginger this way.