Ndambe (Senegalese Lamb and Black-Eyed Pea Stew)
This warming, rib-sticking braise satisfies from dusk to dawn in the West African country.
In Senegal, ndambe, a black-eyed pea stew, is a dinnertime staple—warming, hearty, and filling. Every family that cooks it makes it a little differently; some might add okra or sweet potatoes, while others like to feature meats such as lamb or beef. In their family ndambe recipe, Cherif Mbodji and his mother Binta Fall opt to include lamb. (Mbodji is director of operations and partner at Houston restaurants Bludorn and the just-opened Navy Blue, both joint ventures with chef Aaron Bludorn.)
While dried black-eyed peas are more traditional, this streamlined recipe, adapted from Mbodji and Fall’s version, uses canned ones instead, cutting the cook time substantially.
Red palm oil, derived from palm fruits, is frequently used in African cooking. Because the oil’s production is associated with deforestation concerns on the continent, look for sustainably and responsibly produced palm oil. If you can’t find it, vegetable oil is a suitable—but less flavorful—substitute.
Because the dish tastes better with time, ndambe, traditionally served for dinner, has evolved into a popular breakfast in Senegal, where it’s stuffed inside baguettes as a convenient on-the-go meal. Mbodji and Fall recommend opting for a loaf with a soft, tight crumb—or serving ndambe over rice.
- 1 Tbsp. African red palm oil
- 10 oz. boneless leg of lamb, cut into ½-in. cubes
- 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
- 1 medium red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
- 2 medium scallions, finely chopped
- ½ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
- ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. kosher salt, plus more
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
- 3¾ cup drained, canned black-eyed peas, rinsed well
- 2 bay leaves
- 2½ cups beef, chicken, or vegetable stock
- 1 medium red potato, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 1 baguette, cut crosswise into quarters