Groundnut stew is one of the first dishes I cooked that made me rethink the peanut as an ingredient. I hadn’t considered how African an ingredient it is until I started thinking about Carver and his enslaved legacy and how he used very African crops to save American farming. Then when I started to track the peanut back to Africa, I realized how complex and culturally significant this little bean really is. Its use in groundnut stew is part body, part flavor, and all heritage because it makes use of the versatility of this one crop as oil, as butter, and as garnish yet it never presents itself as the star of the dish.
- In a large bowl, mix the chicken pieces with the salt and pepper.
- Heat the peanut oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium heat and brown the chicken on all sides.
- Remove the chicken and reserve.
- Add the tomato puree to the same pot and sauté until the paste begins to bloom and sizzle evenly.
- Add the diced onion, sweet potato, bell pepper, and garlic to the sizzling tomato paste and sauté until the onions begin to wilt and are evenly coated in the tomato paste (about 10 minutes).
- Add the peanut butter and stir to incorporate.
- Whisk in the chicken stock and bring mixture to a strong simmer.
- Add the Scotch bonnet pepper and the reserved browned chicken with all its juices.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer for about 25 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through and the sauce has reduced slightly.
- Adjust seasoning with additional salt and pepper and serve with a garnish of chopped roasted peanuts, mango relish, or fresh lime along with fluffy white rice.
Therese Nelson is TASTE's Cook In Residence and founder of the website Black Culinary History.