African Peanut Chicken Stew

This stew is wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. Now it’s not going to cause a flavor revolution in your mouth like you might encounter at a fancy restaurant where they have lychee-flavored foam with truffle-scented oils that can be absorbed through your finger tips and which cause your taste buds to go into electric shock. However, it is rich and tasty and comforting, and somehow simple in the best sense of the word. I ate 3 bowls of it the first time I made it. 3 bowls, folks. And though at that point I was quite satisfied in the stomach area, my mouth was already craving more. So I immediately demanded that leftovers be separated into two containers, one for the fridge and one for me to carry to work the next day so that I could have it again as soon as possible, especially since rain and storms were predicted. It’s my idea of comfort food. The recipe was inspired by Kay over at Kayotic Kitchen–click here for the original (Chicken Palava). My variation has squash instead of spinach, some flour for thickening, some more spice, etc. If you’re looking for some serious inspiration, you can count on Kay’s blog to send you running into the kitchen at top speed, where a flurry of cutting boards, knives, pots and pans will quickly result in something incredible.


(Serves 5)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 1/2 TBS flour

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp black pepper

1 large yellow onion

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 zucchini

1 summer squash (yellow squash)

1 red bell pepper

2 large, juicy tomatoes

3 + 1 TBS peanut oil

1 TBS sesame oil

1/4 tsp white pepper

1/2 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp ground ginger

3 tsp brown sugar

1/2 tsp thyme

6 TBS crunchy peanut butter

2 c chicken broth

2 tsp chicken bouillon or base (in addition to the broth)

2 tsp cornstarch + 1 TBS water

Salt, black pepper, and brown sugar to taste

Blanched almond slices and/or cilantro, to garnish

Chop the chicken into smallish cubes and mix it with the peanut oil, sesame oil, ginger, brown sugar, salt, thyme, black pepper, white pepper, chili powder, and flour. Let it marinate for at least 15 minutes. Don’t worry about the seemingly large amount of oil–that will also serve to help cook a ton of veggies.

Roughly chop up the squash and mince the garlic . . .

. . . chop the onion and red pepper . . .

. . . and give the tomatoes a rough chop, too. Keep them separate, because they’ll go in later than the rest of the veggies.

Heat 1 TBS peanut oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. When hot, add the chicken.

Cook for 2 minutes, until the chicken starts to look less raw; your kitchen will immediately start to smell delightful. Add the onion and garlic, and continue to cook for another 2-3 minutes.

Don’t be frightened by the fuzzy white object in the lower lefthand side of the above picture. It’s just a defenseless oven mitt.

Add the bell pepper and squash. Cook for another 5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, and peanut butter. I combined them all in this lovely measuring cup.

Then I poured in the whole shebang. If you didn’t know what the ingredients were up front, this may have looked . . . disturbing. Questionable. Not tasty.

Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let it simmer gently for 25 minutes, uncovered.

If the stew isn’t thick enough, mix in the cornstarch/water slurry to help it along. At this point, taste and re-season. I added an additional couple teaspoons of brown sugar and a heft, hefty dose of salt and pepper. Don’t underseason! The right amount of salt really brings this dish to life.

Serve over rice with some blanched almonds and cilantro. I didn’t have cilantro on hand . . . but it would be perfect.

 Let’s take a bite, shall we?

Have any of you begun to make stews this fall? If there are any recipes you think I must make, please send them my way!

Click here for printer-friendly version: African Peanut Chicken Stew

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18 Responses to African Peanut Chicken Stew

  1. Kay says:

    Cilantro can never be perfect (winks) … aside from that, looks fabulous. Wonderful photos! Great light :)

    Glad you liked it.

  2. Erin says:

    Mmm….this sounds good! Can’t wait to try it. :D

    We had a favorite Rachael Ray recipe last night, what she calls a ‘stoup’ – a soupy stew.

    I subbed a package of sliced baby portabello mushrooms for the 2 large portabello caps, and I used wheat bread instead of white bread for making the meatballs (all we had), but it’s great for chilly nights! It’s not mind-blowingly complex flavor-wise, but nice and hearty. :)

    • Jenna says:

      Yum–hearty is exactly what I’m looking for in a meal these days. Realistically I know it’s not that cold yet, but going from the 80’s to the 60’s in only a couple weeks has felt so drastic to me!

  3. Sarah says:

    mmmmm this looks good! i made a similar recipe last winter, and it was fabulous. it just didn’t have enough veggies. i might add some of yours!

  4. joely says:

    Your pictures make anyone want try this recipe. Well done! I am on a low fat diet due to health issues but I am thinking of trying an alternate version of this tonight. I will let you know how it turns out. I am certain it will not be nearly as good without the peanut butter but the pictures make me want to try it. Maybe I will try some red lentils and mash them up to thicken it?

    • Jenna says:

      That sounds like a good idea. You could also do cubed sweet potatoes or yams (or pureed butternut squash?)–the starch will help thicken the stew, and will hopefully add a flavor that is a good substitute for the peanut butter. Thanks for stopping by! Let me know how it turns out with your variation.

      • joely says:

        It wonderful!!! I used only the sesame oil for the fat and did not use any peanut butter or oil. I added one carrot and one potato and one cup red lentils and 1/2 cup brown. I also used a jar of tomatoes I canned from last year because I had it. After the lentils cooked I took out 2 cups and blended them up and added it back to stew. I used all the same seasonings you did but with fresh ginger. I will defintely repeat again and again. It is very hard to find recipes I like that are very low fat to no fat. I only used 1 tsp of fat. THANK YOU!

      • Jenna says:

        Wow Joely–you’re amazing! I don’t think anyone has ever made a recipe the same day I posted it. Thanks so much for the low-fat alternative!

  5. jen says:

    I think I’m off to get some peanut oil…because this looks scrumptious!!

  6. Kay Heritage says:

    Another great recipe, Jenna! Beautiful dish!

  7. foongfest says:

    Hey Jenna, this looks great. I’m going to leave out the chicken and add a few more veggies, probably some eggplant and okra. Yeah, that’s my vegan version.

  8. Weighting For 50 says:

    Hi Jenna,
    What a wonderful blog!! I’m glad you found me, thank you for commenting on my blog today. I’m glad I’ve “found you back” and will be checking often. :) And trying this recipe!!!

  9. Joanne says:

    i choose this over foam anyday. This seems like it will stick to my rubs far longer…in a good way. The perfect comfort food!

  10. Kelsey says:

    I made this tonight, Luke says “1st bite delicious, 2nd bite delicious, 3rd bite delicious”, so it’s a keeper, thanks for sharing!

  11. Joy says:

    Holy Moly, now I’m starving. This looks excellent. I can’t wait to try it and I love the pics you take. It makes it easier for me to follow and man, it’s mouth watering.

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