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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Fresh and easy pork pozole verde

This recipe is another shortened version of an old favorite, this time using Del Real Foods pre-prepared chili verde pork.

Usually my posole is made with chicken and slow-cooked in my crock pot, but this will be on your table in under half an hour.

ingredients

In addition to the chili verde, you’ll need stock (vegetable or chicken will be fine), Mexican hominy, green salsa, and lots of fresh vegetables. I used green and red cabbage, fresh limes, sliced radish, diced green onions and diced cilantro.

Fast and Easy Pork Pozole Verde

(Serves 8-10)

  • 1 16-oz package of Del Real Foods chili verde (pork in green sauce)
  • 1 7-0z can of salsa verde (green salsa)*
  • 1 large can (about 24 oz) of  Mexican hominy, drained
  • 32 oz chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 12 oz water
  • 1 head green or red cabbage (or both), chopped
  • 2-3 red radishes, sliced
  • 1 handful cilantro, chopped
  • 1 lime, quartered
  • 2-3 green onions, chopped

Chop all of the cabbage and fresh vegetables and set aside for later. Open the package of pork and shred or chop the meat into small pieces, then place in a large pot over high heat. Add the can of salsa verde and the hominy.

pozole verde

Add the stock and water, then cover the pot and bring to a boil. Let it sit on a low boil for about 10-15 minutes.

*A note about the salsa verde: this will add a lot of flavor but not heat. If you like your soup extra spicy, use a spicier or homemade salsa verde, or add hot sauce or salsa to the bowl as you serve it.

pork pozole

The soup will be very thin once the water and stock are added. The fresh vegetables are added when serving, and they will fill up the bowl.

Be sure to squeeze a slice of lime into each bowl as well. Serve immediately.

October Unprocessed: Kicked-up Oktoberfest Soup

I have found some truly amazing recipes for October Unprocessed (check out my Pinterest board for them all here), but there are a few that are fast becoming my favorites. I am particularly happy to work with other things I make from scratch (even before the OU challenge), like homemade, nitrate-free bacon, and sauerkraut I made in my own fermenting crock.

I found this excellent recipe by Sweet & Sauer for a bacon, potato and sauerkraut soup, and I had to try it … although I kicked it up a little. I like my soups to be nice and chunky, and I generally use vegetable stock or chicken stock, where this recipe calls for water.

Oktoberfest soup

I added some German favorites like dill and beer, so call my kicked-up version “Oktoberfest Soup.”

Kicked-up Oktoberfest Soup

  • 8 ounces bacon (my recipe for unprocessed, nitrate-free bacon is here)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 large carrots, cubed
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4-5 new potatoes (about 1 pound)
  • 1 large sweet potato
  • 2 cups sauerkraut (my homemade recipe is here)
  • 1 tablespoon dried dill
  • dash of hot sauce or sriracha (my homemade recipe is here)
  • lots of black pepper
  • half a bottle of good beer
  • just a little bit of salt*

I rendered the chopped bacon with the onions and garlic, then added the hot sauce, the chopped carrots and potatoes, and the dried dill and pepper.

050

Then I added the beer (be sure to scrape up all the good bits stuck to the bottom of the pot) and the water. Bring it to a boil and then let it simmer for about 30 minutes. Add the sauerkraut at the end — *and salt to taste, ONLY if you need it. There is a lot of salt in the bacon and in the kraut, so taste it first and make sure — you don’t want to overdo it.

The hot sauce, the dried dill, the good beer and the bit of sweet earthiness from the sweet potato make a huge difference in the flavor of the stock. Make sure you use a tasty beer, as the flavor of it will concentrate as the soup cooks.

Kicked-up Oktoberfest soup

A quick note about adding the sauerkraut at the end: I found the best result when I put cold sauerkraut on the bottom of my soup bowl, and then ladled the hot soup on top. If you heat the kraut over 110 degrees, the probiotic goodness of the sauerkraut might be compromised … although it will still taste very good. 🙂

After October Unprocessed is over, I think I will try a slightly processed, slightly spicier version … I want to get some good marinated pork belly (my local Korean grocery has the best stuff in their deli, but I am sure it’s processed on some level) and make a stew from it with noodles, then add my homemade kimchi at the end. I think it would be fantastic.

Stay tuned.

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