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How to Cook Groundnut Stew with Home Made Peanut Butter

 

Lerato Groundnut Stew

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Groundnut stew is much loved across the African continent. Decadent and delicious, naturally thickened with roasted and ground peanuts, also referred to as groundnuts. Groundnuts are a very important and abundant cash crop. Enjoyed locally and exported far and wide. We enjoy them as roasted or boiled snacks, crushed into powder or paste for dips, roasts, soups and stews.
            
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Groundnut stew is a very popular recipe in my cookery classes. It is unusual to many in the West who typically use groundnuts/peanuts for peanut butter or satay style dishes. In this recipe the nut is king with its robust flavours and natural oils for quite an indulgent sauce which you can make your own. In our London cookery classes we only cook this as a vegan recipe with aubergines, mushrooms and peppers which pairs beautifully in the nutty sauce. Across West African homes recipes vary, with chicken, beef, lamb, vegetables, some include palm oil, more pungent spices and herbs. I like throwing a pod or two of crushed uda pods for that smoky bewitching aroma and taste.
This is such a versatile dish, you can throw in your favourite vegetables from sweet potatoes to cauliflower, or proteins from lamb, goat even or tofu.
       

Making Your Peanut Paste/Butter

In the video below I roasted and crushed the peanuts into a chunky paste using my pestle and mortar as it would be done traditionally. In modern African cooking it is popularly crushed in a food processor. I really should have used my larger pestle and mortar but I was happy to provide some comic relief. For ease use your food processor with a little liquid stock or water to loosen the paste.

Use natural peanut butter if you don't have blanched peanuts or time to roast and grind. But honestly, if you can make your own hummus, you can make your own peanut butter and I personally think this recipes deserves your own delicious home made peanut butter. Ready roasted peanuts will also work but make sure it isn't ready salted or pre-seasoned as this may affect the flavour of your stew.

 

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Blanched peanuts, food processor, glass roasting dish

      

Roasting or Browning Chicken

My recipe below includes chicken thighs, roasted covered with some of the peanut paste before adding it into the sauce. This is my preferred method for browning chicken, with a 10 minute blast in a pre-heated the oven while you roast your peanuts and start cooking the sauce. The addition of the peanut paste to the chicken creates a wonderful crust. You can also try roasting chicken all the way with the peanut paste, and using thighs, legs or even chicken breasts as I used in the picture above. It is an absolutely delicious and unique idea for roasts.

If unlike me you are not afraid of hot oil splatters, then of course you can also brown your chicken in typical fashion in the pot with a little oil. 

Vegan Friendly Version

For a vegetable version, chop 2 aubergines, slice mushrooms and fry in a table spoon of oil. Cook your sauce for 15 minute or until thickened, and add aubergine and mushroom in the final 5 minutes of cooking. For cauliflower, add at the beginning of the recipe. I also like to add chopped white potatoes or sweet potatoes to bulk up my sauce. Potatoes love this dish as they soak up all that wonderful flavour. 

Tomatoes, Peppers & Aromatics

You can also blend the tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and ginger into a puree. I like using chopped tomatoes and aromatics because I love a lot of texture in my sauces. Throw in a small scotch bonnet for added heat or pierce through it, add into your sauce and remove after 10 minutes of cooking. Save the cooked chilli to make your own chilli oil.

    

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This popular recipe was filmed during lock down 1.0 in collaboration with World Remit and since it was lost with my old instagram page, it has recently been reposted on the new instagram page.

                         

 

  

My trusted 24 cm Le Creuset Cast Iron Pot in Satin Black, as seen in the recipe video 

         

              

MY GROUNDNUT STEW WITH POTATOES

A sumptuous one pot dish that is affordable and adaptable, transporting you to the shores of West Africa.

Feeds 2 - 4 people

     

Ingredients 

150 g (1 cup) roasted unsalted peanuts (or roasted salted & adjust to taste)

600 g chicken thighs

2 tsp paprika

60 ml rapeseed oil / groundnut oil

1 brown onion, thinly sliced

3 garlic cloves, grated/crushed

5 cm / thumb size of ginger, finely chopped or grated

1 red pepper, bell pepper or Romano pepper, sliced

3 plum - 5 medium sized ripe vine tomatoes, chopped or 1 x 400 g can of tomatoes/passata (plum or chopped)

2 - 3 potatoes / 500 g, peeled or unpeeled and cut into 4cm rough chunks

chilli flakes 

11/2 tsp bouillon or 1 stock cube

1 small scotch bonnet, optional

Salt to taste

Dried of fresh thyme, optional


Optional ingredients: Aubergines, mushrooms, cauliflower, chickpeas, spinach,
      

Let's get cooking!

  1. For the peanut paste/butter: Heat a frying pan and add once hot, add the blanched peanuts. Dry roast for 3 - 5 minutes, staring intermittently or roast for 15 minutes in a preheated oven at 180C. Save a table spoon for garnishing.

  2. Use a pestle and mortar or food processor to crush the roasted peanuts into a paste. I prefer quite a textured and chunky consistency. Feel free to process your peanuts into a finer paste if you prefer. This will not affect the recipe. 

  3. Place the chicken thighs in a roasting dish and brush with three table spoons of your peanut paste, salt, 1 tsp of paprika, 1/4 tsp of chilli flakes and a light drizzle of oil. If you haven't got a brush, get in there with your hands. Roast for 10 minutes at 200C.

  4. Heat a large saucepan over medium heat and add 2 table spoons of oil and the sliced onion. Cook for 5 minutes or until softened, then add the garlic, ginger and red peppers. Stir well and add the rest of your peanut paste. Cook for 5 minutes to release those wonderful peanut oils.

  5. Pour in the chopped tomatoes, 1 tsp of paprika which I absolutely adore in cooking tomato based sauces, 1/4 chilli flakes for a little added warmth, 1 tsp of bouillon - I use a low salt organic bouillon, but feel free to use whatever you prefer. If using cubes, dissolve it in warm water. Finally add a teaspoon of salt or to your taste.

  6. Add the potatoes and 300 ml of water. Stir well and leave to cook for 5 minutes. Add the browned chicken and cook for a further 10 - 15 minutes or until your chicken is cooked. I cook in a cast iron pot and I believe this speeds up my cooking time considerable as it retains a lot of heat and moisture, so please pay attention to your pot and cooker as cooking times may vary. Once cooked your sauce will be thick and creamy.

Serve on its own, with rice or your favourite vegetables. Sprinkle the remaining crushed roasted peanuts and enjoy!

     

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