Ever have a recipe get away from you? I’ve wanted to make this African Peanut stew for over a year, so once the weather turned chilly I knew it was time to finally make it. With a 5lb bag of “yams”, in hand I was ready to go. Once I got to peeling my potatoes I noticed something odd:
What the H is that white potato doing in my bushel of yams?
After some quick googling, my research produced this enlightening information. Yams in the U.S. are typically not yams, they’re sweet potatoes. And sweet potatoes come in two different varieties, white flesh and orange flesh. Instead of calling them “orange-fleshed sweet potatoes”, they’ve been mistakenly called yams for years! Though I am still very confused at why this was my first run-in with a white-fleshed sweet potato (literally only 1 white-fleshed sweet potato came in the 5 lb bag), it felt serendipitous. I was lucky enough to learn about the two varieties of sweet potato and also learn that there isn’t much of a flavor difference between the two.
Now, on to the stew. I really liked this dish, and am considering serving it at a dinner party. The ingredients are inexpensive and the flavor makes it feel like an indulgence. Be mindful of the cayenne pepper when serving this dish to someone with a sensitivity to spicy foods. The stew has enough flavor without it, but is wonderful with the cayenne if you like the heat.
African Peanut Stew (adapted from http://www.vegangela.com/2013/09/20/african-peanut-and-sweet-potato-stew/)
Total cook time: Approximately 1 hour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped into quarters
- 3 cloves garlic, lightly smashed
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
- 1 – 14.5 oz can crushed or diced tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1 tsp dried coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 ½ cups frozen corn (or frozen peas)
- 2 cups kale, washed thoroughly and torn into bite sized pieces (or other greens like spinach, arugula, or collards)
- 1 – 16 oz can black beans (optional – I didn’t use)
- Salt and pepper
- brown rice, cooked
- green onion, chopped
- unsalted peanuts, chopped
- cilantro, chopped
- lime wedges
1. Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft but not brown, about 10 minutes.
2. While that is working, blend the tomatoes along with their juice for a few seconds in a food processor or blender, just to break them up.
3. Add the garlic, ginger and chili to the pot and cook for about 5 minutes to soften.
4. Add the tomatoes, stir to combine then add the peanut butter (and coriander, if using), stirring it in until smooth.
5. Stir in the broth add sweet potatoes. Cover the pan and simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender but not falling apart, about 15 minutes.
6. Add the black beans, peas/corn, greens and cook until the beans and peas/corn are heated through and the greens are wilted.
7. Season with salt and pepper, and add additional crushed chili flakes or cayenne pepper to your liking. Be careful to taste as you season!
8. Garnish and serve. I served my stew over a bed of brown rice and topped it with chopped peanuts, cilantro, green onion and a lime wedge. Enjoy!