Our first recipe in our year long virtual travel to West Africa was for West African Peanut Soup - which turned out to really be inspired by the dish. We were reminded right away to throw away our assumptions. It seems fitting that as we wrap up these "travels", that we try the authentic recipe - as authentic as a recipe with dozens of variations across a region can be!
"Groundnut" is the common African word for peanut. Peanuts are a staple food in West Africa and are often used in savory dishes, like this stew. It's a common dish across West Africa, with so many variations, including using fish instead of chicken, making it thick or soupy, and adding a variety of different vegetables - or none at all. It's traditionally served with boiled eggs and various garnishes, such as sliced boiled yam, sliced fruit such as mango, papaya or pineapple, shredded lettuce, sliced tomatoes, coconut, hot sauce, and of course crushed peanuts. We didn't try all the garnishes because I knew most of it would go to waste, but I did include the eggs and tomatoes - and would've had peanuts if Hubby hadn't eaten them all as a snack the night before :)
West African Groundnut Stew
- 8 chicken thighs
- 2 cups canned, diced tomatoes
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 small eggplant, diced
- 2 red peppers, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 scotch bonnet pepper (optional)
- 1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 tsp coriander
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 6 tbsp peanut oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- garnishes, like hard boiled eggs, tomato wedges and chopped peanuts (optional)
- cooked rice, to serve
1. Heat 3 tbsp of peanut oil in a large pot on medium heat. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and brown on both sides. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside.
2. Heat the last 3 tbsp of peanut oil in the pot. Fry onions until soft, then add the garlic, peppers, ginger and coriander. Cook for a a minute or two, stirring until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and cook for about 3 minutes, stirring often. Add the canned tomatoes and the peanut butter, and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Return the chicken to the pot along with the stock. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer, and let simmer, partially covered for 30 minutes. Add the eggplant and continue to cook for another 30 minutes, (now is a good time to cook the rice) until the chicken is cooked through and the stew is thickened but still soupy.
4. Serve over a mound of rice and garnish to your tastes.
|With all the trimmings|
(Presentation looks a little funny, doesn't it?)
This has been our last West African dish - for now! Find all of our West African dishes here.