Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Laura's African Peanut Stew

Catagory: Chicken
Difficulty Rating: Easy-Medium
Pretty Healthy--especially if you are in Africa

My sister Laura (Whitson) went to Sierra Leone to be in the Peace Core in the 1970s when she was in her twenties. She taught school there, and became totally immersed in the East African culture for a few years. So, my mom, dad and my 12 yr. old brother Jim went over to visit her. They had a great time until one day they decided to go explore where the river meets the ocean. There was a peninsula in the middle of the
 river. It had a nice beach, so they decided to swim to it. Suddenly, they found themselves caught in a fierce rip tide. Now, my family are all good swimmers. But the peninsula was only so long and was becoming out of reach as they were slowly being swept out into the mouth of the sea. My Dad, realizing the situation, was coming up behind my little brother and attempting to throw him all the way to the peninsula. This was tough--especially since he hadn't exercised for years. My mom was trying to get to my sister to help her. Suddenly my 160 IQ sister Laura looked back at the shore and yelled "Let's go back to where we came from. It's a shorter distance." This made sense. So, heaving and exhausted--they turned around and made it to safety.

My sister has henceforth been known for her smarts. One smart thing she did was bring back this recipe for Peanut (or Groundnut) Stew. This stew is considered the Sierra Leone national dish--it takes peanut butter, peppers and chicken and makes something REALLY tasty.

This is the recipe in her own words:

"Cook any kind of meat (I like skinned, boneless chicken breasts--2lbs) first by frying it in peanut oil in a skillet. Take it out and chop into 1-inch cubes and replace in pan. Add enough water to cover meat. Cover with lid, simmer until tender. Meantime, chop onions (1 medium), saute in peanut oil until soft. Chop a fresh hot pepper and add to the onions (or use one dried red pepper, or 1/8 t crushed red pepper). Take smooth peanut butter, about one cup to a chicken, and mix it up with water (same amount as peanut butter). Then pour mixture on top of the onions. Add a large can of stewed whole tomatoes and a small can of tomato paste. Then, stir in as much water as you like to make a thick stew consistency. Throw in a couple of chicken bouillon cubes too. No salt is necessary (because of the bouillon). Add black pepper, savory, garlic powder and just a shake of cayenne pepper to taste (I would use about 1/8th teaspoon of each except cayenne, and 1 t garlic powder). Add cooked chicken and simmer together. Serve on top of rice."

Note: If it gets too thick when it cools, stir in more water and put it back on the stovetop.

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