one man's ceiling
Sunday, November 19, 2006
  senegalese peanut butter stew
this one i stumbled onto at npr about a year ago. it was requested by my zuska, and seeing as i hadn't made it in a while i figured what the heck. but maybe i don't make this as often because it falls into the category 'do not attempt unless you have the better portion of an afternoon to make this'. okay, so maybe it only takes about 2 and a half hours. not exactly slow food, but not the 30 minute solutions i generally look for when feeding us in the evenings.

you can get the original recipe with it's story here, but this is my take with a few shortcuts.

mafe - a senegalese peanut butter stew mix together the salt, pepper and red pepper flakes, sprinkle half the mixture over both sides of the chicken pieces and set aside. prepare all the rest of the ingredients while the chicken sits.
heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pot to medium high. when the oil is hot add the rest of the salt and pepper mix and stir until they become fragrant (less than a minute).
place the chicken pieces in the bottom of the pot and cook until browned on both sides, about 7 minutes a side.
remove from heat and add onions, garlic and bell pepper, stir in tomato sauce and chicken broth and return to a medium heat.
once the stew reaches a slight boil, turn the flame down, drop the cabbage wedges in, cover and simmer for approximately 30 minutes.
in a small bowl combine the tomato paste, peanut butter and a cup of broth from the stew. use a whisk to make it all smooth and then pour it into the stew.
add the sweet potatoes and give the stew a good mixing, recover and let simmer for 20 to 30 minutes -- until the cabbage and sweet potatoes are cooked.
serve over rice.

if you wanted to swap out tofu for chicken i don't see the problem there. just use extra firm tofu and remove it from the pot once it's cooked, adding it at the end, just before serving.
we don't like bell peppers in this house, but they do add a nice flavor, so i keep the pieces large to enable people to fish them out and not eat them.
the peanut butter will get stuck to the bottom of the pot, so check and stir every so often.
i prefer to cut the sweet potatoes down to a small dice; they cook faster and they end up different than the 20 other times i serve sweet potatoes in a given week. (honestly, these girls of mine and their sweet potato addiction, i've eaten as much of these tubers in a year as i did in an entire lifetime before they entered my life!)
given that this is traditionally eaten by hand i would imagine that instead of rice one could use a soft flatbread or something similar.
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