Peanuts- Not Just For Elephants and Baseball Anymore: West African Peanut Stew

 

For those of us lucky enough to be born without a deadly allergy to these crunchy legumes, peanuts are relatively underused in cooking considering all of their health benefits.  They are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, are good sources of vitamin E, niacin, folate, protein and manganese. Studies have found peanuts high in antioxidants, and they are helpful in fighting various forms of cancer and Alzheimer’s too.  My two-year old knows best:  peanuts (well, PB&J) are awesome! 
 
The peanuts are just the beginning of this so-rich-you’ll-never-believe-it’s-vegan stew!  Its packed with vitamins A and C too, thanks to the sweet potatoes and red bell pepper.  The chickpeas add an extra shot of protein and fiber.
 
If you have access to a great spice shop, pick up some Zanzibar Curry Powder (yes, I am aware that Zanzibar is not in West Africa) to make this stew really pop.  If you don’t have access, use what you’ve got and start with a little and keep adding until it’s the right spice level for you.
 
This makes enough to freeze half for later.
 
WEST AFRICAN PEANUT STEW – serves 8
 

Make Ahead and Make it Easy

 Depending on how busy you are, you can make this entire dish a few days ahead and freeze or refrigerate  it,  and gently reheat it.  Or, you can do all of the prep work (peeling and chopping) and put the onions in an airtight container with the bell peppers, and use a separate container to store the prepped sweet potato, tomatoes, chickpeas, peanut butter, and curry.  That way all you’ll need to do is thow everything in a pot and wait.
 
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbs peanut oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbs fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 14 oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained
  • 2 14 oz. cans chickpeas, drained
  • 6 cups water or vegetable stock
  • 1 cup chunky peanut butter
  • 3 Tbs curry powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 14 oz. can coconut milk
  • How to make it
  1. Saute the onion and bell pepper in peanut oil until onion begins to soften- about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger and saute about 30 seconds.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!
  3. Add sweet potato, tomatoes, chickpeas, stock or water, peanut butter, curry, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  4. Simmer uncovered until sweet potatoes are soft- 30-45 minutes.
  5. Stir in the coconut milk and serve.
  
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