North African-Inspired Chicken Peanut Stew

6 Jan

I was recently introduced to a wonderful marriage of flavors that I hadn’t really considered before; tomato and peanut.

It seems that the tomato and peanut were meant for each other, at least in the form of a hearty and savory stew.

Neil and I had tried the Rockin’ Moroccan Stew from Hall’s Kitchen a few months ago, and it was so good that I couldn’t get the flavors out of my head. The richness of the peanuts added so much to the already flavorful stew. It piqued my interest in North African recipes and flavors and I’ve been reading a lot about them ever since.

Last night I was craving something rich and stew-like so I decided to create my own version of a tomato and peanut stew using whatever I had in my kitchen. Which wasn’t much, actually.

It was time to get creative.

I came up with this recipe and it was absolutely delicious, though I may have modified it slightly if I had a few other ingredients available to me.

The moral of the story is that you can add, subtract or modify whatever your heart desires in this recipe, just keep those two lovebird ingredients (tomato and peanut, of course) in some form in the dish and you’ll end up with something beautiful.

Things I would have added in if I had them: Onion (I used leek), ginger, cilantro or parsley for garnish & raw unsalted peanuts for crunch.

Things you could also consider: other kinds of vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, peppers etc), tomato paste instead of strained tomatoes (but you’d probably have to add some stock for liquid), tofu or shrimp instead of chicken, chickpeas instead of lentils, curry powder instead of or in addition to turmeric.

Go nuts and enjoy.

North African-Inspired Chicken Peanut Stew

Makes about 4 servings

2 leeks and/or 1 onion, chopped

1 large clove garlic, chopped

2 chicken breasts, butterflied and cut into bite sized pieces

1 large can of lentils

2 Tbsp peanut butter (generous tablespoons)

½ bottle strained tomatoes

Fresh or frozen greens – I used frozen spinach and kale

Cumin

Coriander

Turmeric

Chili flakes

Lime wedges for garnish

Sauté onion/leek and garlic in a little bit of olive oil for about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken and cook just until all the pieces turn white.

Add the entire can of lentils (including all liquid) and the peanut butter. Mix and let the peanut butter melt.

Add your spices. I eyeballed the spices which probably came to about a tsp each of cumin, coriander turmeric. I added a large pinch of very hot chili flakes from India and the stew had good heat. Adjust according to how hot your chilies are. Mix.

Add in your vegetables. Mine were frozen and I threw them in fully frozen without defrosting them first. The extra water just helped liquefy the stew. If you’re using fresh greens, add them in once the chicken is cooked so they have a chance to cook down. And if you need some extra liquid just add water or stock.

Add in half the bottle of tomatoes and stir.

Season with salt and pepper.

Simmer on medium low heat for at least 15 minutes but 30 minutes or longer is better to let the flavors really come together.

Serve over whole-wheat couscous and garnish with lime wedges. Had I had some fresh cilantro or parsley, I would have added some on top as well.

Make sure to squeeze the lime overtop before you dig in! It adds a punch of flavor to the stew.

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One Response to “North African-Inspired Chicken Peanut Stew”

  1. ashley January 24, 2011 at 1:41 pm #

    Hey! I usually add a good lump of peanut butter to my chili, as the richness of the butter and the sweetness had another nice dimension of flavour behind the hot smoky chili. This sounds equally good, I’ll definitely try it!

    Just as an aside, I found this other food blog a few weeks ago and am really interested in her recipes and writing. Although it’s a veg blog, you can add meat to anything, and her knowledge of international cuisine is great: http://www.shespillsthebeans.com/kitchen/

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