West African Peanut Stew

Classic West African Peanut Stew
Okra, tomatoes, hot chiles, and plum tomatoes lighten the stew's intense richness, but it's the indispensable peanut that gives this dish its essential earthy character.Alice Kim

Peanut stews are found across West Africa, with ancient roots in dishes made with native groundnuts before the peanut arrived from the New World in the 16th century. Some are thick and served over rice or millet couscous, others thin and soupy, depending on where in Africa you are. The list of ingredients often extends to okra, tomatoes, hot chiles, and other bright foils for the stew's intense richness, but it's the indispensable peanut that gives this dish its essential earthy character. —Jessica B. Harris, author of High on the Hog: A Culinary Journey from Africa to America (Bloomsbury, 2011)

West African Peanut Stew
The list of ingredients in West African Peanut Stew often extends beyond this; but it's the indispensable peanut that lends essential earthy character.
Yield: serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • 13 cup canola oil
  • 2 lb. bone-in chicken thighs, skinned
  • Kosher salt, to taste
  • 14 cup finely chopped ginger
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 chile de arbol
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 12 tsp. ground cumin
  • 12 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 14 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 13 tsp. fenugreek seeds
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 2 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 34 cup smooth, salted peanut butter
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes
  • 1 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into 1″ cubes
  • 4 oz. okra, cut into 1″-thick pieces
  • 1 fresh red chile, sliced
  • roasted, chopped peanuts, for garnish
  • kosher salt
  • steamed white rice, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat 3 tbsp. oil in a 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and add to pot; cook, turning once, until lightly browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate, and set aside.
  2. Add remaining oil to pot. Add ginger, onion, and chiles de arbol and cook, stirring, until soft, about 8 minutes; add spices, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomato paste, and cook, stirring, until lightly caramelized, about 3 minutes. Stir in peanut butter, and then return the chicken to the pot along with the tomatoes. Stir to combine, then add the chicken stock and bring to a boil; lower the heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, until the chicken is cooked but still quite firm, about 25 minutes. Add the eggplant and okra, and cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and the eggplant and okra are soft, 25–30 minutes more. Season with kosher salt as needed, sprinkle with sliced chile and peanuts, and serve with steamed rice.