Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Senegalese Style Peanut Stew

We had some friends we hadn't seen in a long time over for an impromptu lunch last week.  The ingredients I had on hand were for a dish I was wanting to make from my favorite vegetarian cookbook ("How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman).  A Senegalese-style (as in the African country of Senegal, where peanuts are a primary crop and sweet potatoes are also featured prominently--thank you, Wikipedia!) peanut stew (and a vegetarian one at that!) was not what I would have planned on serving company (why couldn't I have had some nice deli turkey in the fridge???). 

Anyway, our friends arrived and when they found out what I was making exclaimed, "You don't have to make something vegetarian just for us!"  Turns out, they've started eating primarily vegetarian and it was a very nice coincidence.  Over some very sweet catching up with our friends, we became such fans of this hearty, complex stew that I made it again this week (plus I needed to make sure to get a picture!). 

Serve it with a scoop of hot cooked rice or couscous to round it into a very satisfying meal. Here it's pictured with cooked millet which is a small, round grain found in African cuisine.  I found it at my local health food store, but familiar white rice was great with it.  It's so good, you'll be fighting over who gets to take the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Senegalese Style Peanut Stew
3/4 cup shelled, roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable or peanut oil
1 tablespoon peeled and minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
pinch of cayenne pepper, more or less to taste
salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 (about 1 pound) sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large chunks
1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 bunch kale or collard greens, washed thoroughly and cut into wide ribbons
juice of half a lime
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large pot.  Once hot, saute onion, bell pepper, ginger and garlic stirring occasionally until softened--about 3-5 minutes.  Add 1/2 cup of the peanuts, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper. 

Stir in the stock, sweet potatoes and can of tomatoes.  Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender, about 10-15 minutes.

Stir in the peanut butter and kale.  Cook just until the greens are tender--3-5 minutes.  Stir in lime juice and cilantro.  Taste and adjust seasoning and serve, garnished with the remaining peanuts and cilantro.  
Recipe Adapted from "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian" by Mark Bittman


  1. So excited to try this, Laurie! I make the West African-style loaded sweet potatoes a lot, and going into fall I'm excited to try something similar in stew-form. Also, as you know I adore "How to Cook Everything Vegetarian".

    Thought I'd let you know that I pulled up the cobbler recipe from your site to use up some nectarines with icky spots, and I ended up adding frozen rhubarb, blueberries, and fresh figs, along with ground almonds & pecans in the crumble...It turned out great!

    Thanks for keeping the recipes coming--I'm enjoying reading the new homeschooling blog, too. :) Miss you guys!

  2. I thought you'd like this one, Elise!
    :) Your cobbler sounds yummy. Thanks for the encouragement, we miss you too and hope things are going well! Love you!