African Chicken Peanut Stew

It felt so good to be back in the kitchen this week! I’ve been out of commission the last few months due to chemotherapy, but I am feeling great and back in the saddle again – at least for now.

This time of year, regardless of your health, a thick and comforting soup is always perfect. But in the weeks after Thanksgiving we all start to daydream about food that wasn’t at one point the turkey or ham centerpiece of the holiday meal. I love turkey rice soup (and turkey noodle soup, etc.) as much as the next guy, but it’s time for something new.

And spicy.

This is really one of my favorite soups. It’s best if you start with a homemade chicken stock – as in, you get a chicken carcass (like one you have roasted or smoked), or even a few chicken parts, and boil it down – so you can get as much good chicken meat as well as broth. If you only have canned or packaged chicken stock on hand, add pieces of chicken as well – or substitute extra vegetables to fill it up. The rest of the items are probably in your pantry already, so it’s a great way to use up a few potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrots.

African chicken peanut stew

African Chicken Peanut Stew

  • 2 quarts of good chicken stock (with meat pieces)
  • 1 8-oz jar of chunky natural peanut butter
  • 1 can of roasted, diced tomatoes
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2-3 red potatoes, diced
  • 2-3 sweet potatoes or yams, peeled and diced
  • 2 cups roasted peanuts
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • salt and pepper
  • dash of lemon juice or white vinegar
  • 3 tbsp. sriracha or fermented hot sauce (homemade if possible)

Start by sauteeing the shallot and hot sauce in the olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the carrots and diced potatoes. Add cumin and salt and pepper. Once the vegetables are coated and starting to cook, add the can of tomatoes and the chicken meat and stock.

Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked. Slowly stir in the peanut butter (you may have to mix it first in the jar) and about half of the roasted peanuts. Taste to make sure you don’t need to add more salt, pepper, or cumin, and adjust accordingly.

Add a dash of lemon juice or vinegar to the pot as you turn off the heat. Garnish with fresh cilantro and whole peanuts. Serve immediately.

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