Tuesday, January 28, 2014

West African Groundnut Stew

It's so nice to find a new favorite in an old friend.  I feel like I see something new every time I flip through the More With Less Cookbook, and this recipe caught my eye on a recent perusal.  One of the things I love about Doris Janzen Longacre's book, which is a collection of "suggestions by Mennonites on how to eat better and consume less of the world's limited food resources," is the heart behind it.  Throughout there are notes from other home cooks striving to make wholesome, inexpensive meals for their families.  Our favorite pancake recipe, which I've adapted endlessly, and our "love chicken" recipe come from this book, as well as a few other family faves.  We all liked this easy stew--even the peanut passionate-disliker in the family found it tolerable--and my husband said he enjoyed the leftovers each time he brought it for lunch. 


West African Groundnut Stew
Serves 8

3 T. oil
2 lbs. beef cubes, rolled in flour
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 T. chili powder
4 medium-sized onions, sliced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1-2 tsp. salt, to taste (*the original recipe does not call for any added salt, but I think it needs it)
3/4 c. tomato paste
6 c. water
red pepper, if desired (I'd recommend 1/4-1/2 tsp. to start, unless you love spicy food)

1/2 c. chunky peanut butter
2 T. oil

In a large, heavy pot brown the beef cubes in the 3T. oil.  While browning, add the nutmeg and chili powder.  When the meat is browned, add the onions, garlic, tomato, water, salt, and red pepper.  Simmer until meat is tender (I let it go 1 1/2 hours).  A half hour before serving, heat the peanut butter and 2 T. oil together in a small saucepan for 5 minutes, stirring.  Slowly add the peanut butter mixture to the stew and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes.  Check for salt. Serve over rice. May be served with curry condiments, such as peanuts, sunflower seeds, coconut, chopped scallions/onions, chopped tomatoes, diced fruit, etc. 


The notes on this recipe mention that chicken can be used in place of beef (I think bone-in chicken thighs would work well, cut the simmering time to 1 hour), or use leftover cooked meat and begin by sauteing onion and garlic, then add the meat with tomato paste and water.  Again, you'd probably want to cut the simmering time.  Recipe attribution is given to cooks from Lagos, Nigeria, Elkhart, Indiana, and Barberton, Ohio. :)