March 07, 2013

African Stew

The 6th graders at our school do a "country" research report each year.... they are each assigned a country by drawing from a hat.   Two years ago Collin drew Sierra Leone, a country we knew nothing about except that our neighbors had just returned from serving there as missionaries!  Collin was able to pick their brains to add color to his report, as well as borrow some fun items to use during his presentation to the class.  As part of the project the 6th grade classes have an "International Food Fair" where each student brings a dish representing their country and everyone tastes lots of new and interesting foods.  Since "Groundnut (Peanut) Stew" is considered the national dish of Sierra Leone, that was no-brainer for Collin's food.  We found a recipe online that was pretty basic.  It was just "OK"... not great, but edible.  There were lots of leftovers. 

Fast forward to this year.  Mary was also assigned Sierra Leone!  What are the odds?!  She wrote a great report and borrowed the same items from our neighbors for her presentation.  But this time I searched longer for a recipe and found one that sounded good.  I sampled it before sending it to the school and thought it was rather tasty, but I still doubted the kids would eat it, since it was kind of unusual, and kids tend to be picky.  I thought, "I actually hope she brings home lots.... I like it and I will just serve it to my family for dinner." 

When I picked up Mary from school I was surprised to find the crock pot empty but for a few mouthfuls at the bottom!  She said the kids all liked it, including her, and Jack and Collin gobbled up the few remaining bites and declared that I should make it again for our family.  So, it's a keeper. 

Groundnut Stew (African Chicken Peanut Stew)
adapted from Simply Recipes

3 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 (15 oz.) can diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 T. ginger paste*
2 T. minced garlic

4 c. chicken broth
1 c. all natural peanut butter
1 T. ground coriander
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more if you want it spicy)
salt & pepper to taste
fresh cilantro (optional) for serving

I did not follow the directions on the recipe (and I adapted some of the ingredients); in fact, I didn't even read them until just now.  Way too complicated.  I just did it my own way and it turned out great. 

If I weren't so lazy (and short on time) I would have cut up the chicken and sauteed it with the onion, garlic and ginger, but because I AM lazy (and I hate handling raw meat), I just threw the chicken in a crock pot and then shredded/diced it up after it cooked.  Then, in a large pot I whisked together the broth, onion, garlic, ginger, peanut butter, coriander, cayenne pepper and salt & pepper and brought it to a boil.  I added the sweet potatoes and tomatoes and cooked until the potatoes were soft and then added the cooked chicken.  I thought it was very tasty as is, but it would be great served over rice with some fresh cilantro. 

(You could probably throw the whole thing in the crock pot, but I think the potatoes might get too mushy, and it would be harder to shred the chicken, so if you do the crock pot thing it would probably be best to cut the chicken up first.  Also, you wouldn't add as much broth.... maybe half?) 

*I used this as a time saver, but you can use fresh grated ginger or even ground ginger, but less.... about 2 tsp.?

1 comment:

  1. I have a friend that survived the civil war in Sierra Leone... she watched most of her family die. (Mariam Kallon is her name) Her story is remarkable. You can read some of it here: Just google her name and you'll see more.
    I'm fairly certain that she would talk to Mary if she'd like. (sounds like her report is finished but she'd probably enjoy hearing about her miraculous life) xo jbp


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