West African Peanut Stew

Several of our close friends have become vegetarians for health reasons so the get-togethers around our table include dishes to satisfy both meat eaters and vegetarians alike!  Dayton has been doing an extensive amount of research regarding vegetarian cooking in regards to techniques, seasoning possibilities and vegetable and produce combinations and, as a result, created an absolutely delicious variation of a dish he had recently seen prepared on ABC’s The Chew.  Our version of this spicy and sumptuous stew includes blackeyed-peas, chilis, butternut squash, collard greens and the inclusion of cinnamon and cloves in the regiment of spices.  It is filling, hearty… and delicious!  It is literally impossible to tell that this delectable stew contains no meat.  On a chilly winter’s night this is a perfect comfort food…!

West African Peanut Stew

Reserving 1/2 for future use cut in half:

  • 1 medium butternut squash

Seed and peel the half of squash, then cut into 1/2 – 3/4 inch cubes

To a medium-sized skillet over moderately high heat add:

  • 2 – 3 T extra-virgin olive oil

When the oil begins to shimmer add:

  • the cubed squash

Season with:

  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook, stirring frequently to prevent burning and sorching, until the squash has cooked throughout and is covered with rich caramelization:

 Set the squash to the side.

Over an open flame completely char:

  • 2 large poblano/pasilla  chili peppers

Immediately place and seal the peppers in a plastic bag, allowing them to steam for at least 20 minutes:

 With your fingertips gently remove the charred skin.  Do not rinse the roasted peppers under running water as that will wash away some of the rich smoky flavors achieved through the roasting process:

 If necessary, use a paper towel to remove any stubborn bits!

 

With a sharp knife cut the pepper along its length, folding it open to remove the seeds, stem and excess membranes:

 

 

 Cut into 3/4 – 1-inch square pieces and set to the side:

 Remove the stem, seeds and membranes of:

  • 1 large red bell pepper

Cut into 3/4 – 1-inch square pieces and set to the side:

Drain, rinse and set to the side:

  • one and one-half 15 oz cans (approximately 3 cups) black-eyed peas

 

Chef’s Note:  Don’t be tempted to use both full cans… the balance of the soup will not be correct.

 Coarsely chop and transfer to a medium bowl:

  • 1 large peeled white onion

Add and set to the side:

  • 7  peeled whole garlic cloves, microplaned

  • 2 jalapeño peppers, cubed and, if you wish, seeded

Wash and remove the stems from:

  • 1 bunch collard greens

Stack the leaves together, roll them up in a tight roll and julienne:

 

To a large pot or Dutch oven over moderately high heat add:

  • 2 T extra-virgin olive oil

When the oil begins to shimmer add:

  • the reserved chopped onion and microplaned garlic

Sauté until the onions begin to turn translucent:

 Add:

  • the collard greens

Continue cooking until the collard greens have wilted, stirring frequently:

Add:

  • the caramelized butternut squash
  • the chopped jalapeño peppers
  • the roasted poblano peppers

 Stir to combine then add:

  • 1 T grated fresh ginger
  • 1 T ground cumin
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Mix well to combine.  Add:

  • 1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

  •  6 C vegetable stock

Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 35 – 40 minutes:

Check occasionally to make sure that the simmer is constant and not too vigorous.  Transfer about 1 cup of the liquid to a small bowl and add:

  • 5 – 6 T peanut butter, chunky or smooth… chef’s choice!

Blend in the peanut butter until smooth.  Return the mixture to the cooking pot and add:

  • the reserved black-eyed peas

 Stir well and heat thoroughly.  Serve in warmed soup bowls garnished with:

  • chopped salted peanuts
  • lime wedges (optional)

For an alternate garnish I peeled and thinly sliced on a steep diagonal a sweet potato from the pantry, deep-fried it in  400° peanut oil until golden and crisp on both sides, a matter of minutes!

Sprinkled with a few grains of salt these sweet, puffed crisps added a lovely note to an already glorious meal in a bowl… Bon Appetit!

 

©2012 Via Aurea Designs, Inc., All Rights Reserved 

 

 

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Categories: Soups, Vegetable Main Dishes, Vegetables

Author:Steve Meyer & Dayton Azevedo

Food and fine cooking have been our passion for many years, fueled by the year-around abundance of fresh fruits, vegetables, poultry and meats, as well as aromatic spices and herbs readily available to us here in the San Francisco Bay Area, making adventuresome, creative and delicious 5-star cooking a reality in our kitchen. Our aim is to make it yours as well by utilizing our step by step instructions and serial photographs. Bon Appetit from our kitchen to yours...!

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3 Comments on “West African Peanut Stew”

  1. Giles
    January 5, 2012 at 8:44 PM #

    My foray into vegetarianism has been tough at times. I especially miss the richness that meat brings to a dish. The West African Stew you served at Christmas changed all that. It is by far one of the tastiest dishes I have had in a long time. The rich layering of taste is simply to die for and now more than ever, I am convinced that being a vegetarian does not mean giving up good food. It is simply a matter of knowing the right people who can set someone like me on the right path to vegetarian heaven. We will be making this by the potfull !!!

  2. CL
    January 17, 2012 at 8:09 PM #

    I made this tonight–fantastic!

    • January 18, 2012 at 3:20 AM #

      We are pleased that you enjoyed it! This is a hearty stew rich with exotic flavors that gets even better each time it is reheated… if any remains!

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