December 4, 2012

West African chicken and peanut stew

Serving bowl of West African chicken and peanut stew.
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I don't like to complain about the weather, but 55 to 60 degrees in December with rain? Really? We got our Christmas tree the other day and it was pouring rain. I'm sitting here with the window wide open. 

We live in Buffalo, NY folks - the place where everyone thinks has crazy amounts of snow. Last winter I wasn't even able to use my snowshoes once. It's weird and makes it really difficult to get into the Christmas mood! We are used to snow and cold. I don't want any blizzards or anything, but I also feel like it's spring.... It makes baking cookies or knitting gifts feel.... I don't know..... just not right....

It also makes dinners a little more difficult. Usually we are craving stews, soups, and other cold-weather dishes, but not so much when it is this warm. But, that's not going to stop me from making wintery meals. I'm hopeful that we will see some winter this year. It's still early..... and, I'm hopeful that we will have at least a covering of snow as we get closer to the holidays. 

This stew is a stick-to-your-bones kind of meal that is perfect for a cold evening. I've been wanting to make a version of this dish for quite a while and finally used this recipe to do so (I modified it slightly). The combination of ingredients sound strange -- the flavor is unlike anything I've eaten before, but after a couple bites, we both agreed that we liked it a lot! 

This dish will easily serve four hungry people. It's a simple dish to put together, but does take some time to simmer. It's a perfect stew to warm you up after coming in from the cold (if it's cold where you are).

West African chicken and peanut stew
2 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
about 1-1/2 lbs. boneless and skinless chicken thighs
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 medium white onion, finely diced
2 inches of ginger root, grated
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup all-natural chunky peanut butter
1 (28 oz) can of crushed tomatoes
1 (14-15 oz) can of full-fat coconut milk
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3/4 to 1 cup unsalted dry roasted peanuts 
handful of fresh chopped cilantro

Heat the coconut oil in a large, deep skillet or in a heavy-bottom stock pot. When hot add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. If you don't have a wide pan, brown the chicken in batches. Once they are browning, push them to the outside edges of your pan and add the onion in the middle. Cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to soften. Then add the ginger, garlic, another pinch of salt and pepper along with the coriander and cayenne. Stir and cook just until fragrant.

Add the chicken stock and de-glaze the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the peanut butter, tomatoes, and coconut milk and stir well until the peanut butter is smoothy distributed. Stir in the sweet potatoes. Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the chicken and shred it with two forks. Return it to the pot. Continue to simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about another 30 minutes, or until the stew is thickened and the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Taste and adjust salt, pepper, and cayenne, as needed.

Ladle into serving bowls and top with some of the peanuts and cilantro.

Top view of pot of stew topped with peanuts and cilantro.


  1. This chicken stew sounds and looks delicious...we were in South Africa area a few months ago and did get to taste this I sure try this out.
    Have a great week Amy :)

    1. How awesome that you got to visit South Africa. One of my dreams is to go there and go cage diving with the great white sharks!

  2. We've been having weird winters in Toronto lately..hardly any snow. My kids were disappointed last year. I remember when I was growing up we had tons of...a little scary to think of all this climate change...but I have to say this stew looks awesome! We may not get as much snow as before but it sure does get cold..this stew is perfect to warm up with!

  3. Sounds and looks delicious! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  4. I am totally okay with the weather being less-than-winter, really. I hate that I am so happy with it, because it totally means global warming is happening, but still. The winter months are rough and I hate the cold, hehe...

    Anyways, this stew seems really unique and awesome! I love flavor combos like this. I want to bookmark it to try myself!

  5. I think we have driven the global weather crazy with all our activities! I hope the beautiful stew you made will lure the weather to perhaps pour some snow there!

  6. This looks amazing, Amy! I love how gorgeous you made the stew look- I am totally using this recipe (and subbing in tofu for myself as a veggie girl). I've always wanted to try making peanut stew at home!

    We have the opposite problem where I'm from. It's too chilly for my liking. Snow's nice... to look at! :)

  7. It's been in the 60's here - nuts! I hope it gets a little more wintery for the holidays. This stew looks absolutely to-die-for, especially on a cold night.

  8. Love the flavors in this soup. It's going to get cold here this winter, it would be perfect.

  9. I have never had peanut butter in a stew before and this looks very delicious and rich.

  10. I'm not complaining about the weather but is weird.

    I've made a veg version of this before and it was awesome! LOVE the sweet potato peanut combo.

  11. Hi Amy, interesting recipe....peanut butter with chicken stew. Look delicious and very creamy.

    Have a wonderful week ahead,regards.

  12. It's crazy like that around here, too (weatherwise). Just yesterday we dipped back into the cold a bowl of this mouthwatering stew would be the perfect thing for me right now!

  13. Love the rich orange colour of the stew - looks appetizing and warming! Hope you get the beautiful snowy winter you desire. :)

  14. It's so cold here now that I wish I can have a bowl of your lovely soup! I would have it before I go out and when I come in :D I have been cooking soup everyday for the past 2-3 weeks. Nothing is better than hot soups or hot drinks at this time of the year. I hope we will have a very white Christmas. Hope the same on your side too :D

  15. i wasn't sure i'd like the combination of flavors in african cuisine, but as it turns out, i love it! this sounds really satisfying. :)

  16. Hi Amy,
    It's not cold here either, but I'm in CA. I figured you would have snow by now too. This soup sounds so warm and comfortable, tasty too. Hope the snow comes in time for Christmas.

  17. Strange, warmer weather here too, although we may get snow tomorrow night. Am I awful for saying I don't miss the snow?

    Thanks for your comment and I love this recipe. Great flavors.

  18. Living in Toronto, I experienced the same kind of winter last year. This year I KNOW we'll have more snow, and this stew will be perfect on those cold days.

  19. Fantastic recipe! I am a great fan of any dish that features nuts :)

  20. We're in the same boat! It's in the 60s, gray + rainy today. We put up the Christmas tree last night, which was a blast, but it was so odd doing it in 60-degree weather! We're still making wintery meals anyway, + I know I'd love this fantastic stew!

  21. This looks delicious and is great for the winter months. :-)


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