West African Chicken and Peanut Stew (also called African Chicken Peanut Soup) is spicy, rich and deeply flavorful. A mixture of tender sweet potatoes and buttery chicken simmered in a comforting mixture of broth, coconut milk, peanut butter, garlic, ginger, coriander and cayenne.
It’s unusual for Keith and I to be out on a walk after midnight. We’re 40 now, after all, and really need our beauty sleep. But last night was different, there was to be a meteor shower, a big one, from the tail of Hailey’s comet.
Our good friends were visiting from out of town and we spent the evening playing Texas Hold’em for terribly valuable wooden toothpicks, trying to stay awake for the promised celestial show. So at midnight we headed out for a walk, a pretty long walk, in the 33 degree air.
Stars winked at us from an ebony background; planets shimmered in blues and greens; the moon and clouds had the night off. We oohed and awwed, but saw not. a. single. shooting star.
But I don’t mind. I love this time of year, when the chill is back and the sky is crisp. I love it partly because it makes me think of soup.
Have you had West African Chicken and Peanut soup before? Thank you, Africa! It’s delicious – at once spicy, sweet, fresh, hearty, decadent. If the combination of ingredients seems strange, don’t worry. Please try it anyway – I promise you’ll love it.
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 2-3 inch piece of ginger peeled and minced (a microplane makes quick work of this)
- 5 large cloves garlic peeled and minced
- 2 large sweet potatoes scrubbed and diced (peeled if you like)
- 1 28 ounce jar chopped tomatoes with juice (or can)
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup chunky peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 14 ounce can coconut milk (I used full-fat)
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut in half lengthwise
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup roasted peanuts for garnish
- fresh chopped cilantro for garnish
Heat oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes until translucent. Add ginger and garlic; cook and stir 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Add the next 7 ingredients – sweet potatoes through coconut milk. Stir until well combined and peanut butter is distributed. Stir in chicken thighs to and bring to boil. Reduce heat and cover; simmer for one hour.
Remove the chicken thighs and set them aside for a few moments until they’re cool enough to handle. Use two forks to shred chicken, then return to stew.
Add salt, freshly ground black pepper, and more cayenne to taste. Ladle into individual soup bowls and garnish with peanuts and cilantro. Serve.