African Chicken Peanut Stew

I felt this was more of a soup than stew and it turned out to be just what I was craving.  It was a bit on the exotic side, but not strange at all.  I found the velvety, peanut texture very satisfying on a cold, February evening.  I stumbled upon the recipe at Simply Recipes (they have a much prettier picture).  I stayed true to the recipe; here it is:

African Chicken Peanut Stew Recipe

  • Prep time: 15 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Use chicken legs, thighs or wings for this recipe. They have more flavor and will hold up better with the flavors of the stew than breast meat.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2-3 pounds chicken legs, thighs and/or wings
  • 3 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow or white onion, sliced
  • A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, chopped roughly
  • 2-3 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 1 15-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro

METHOD

1 Heat the vegetable oil in a large soup pot set over medium-high heat. Salt the chicken pieces well, pat them dry and brown them in the oil. Don’t crowd the pot, so do this in batches. Set the chicken pieces aside as they brown.

2 Sauté the onions in the oil for 3-4 minutes, stirring often and scraping any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Add the ginger and garlic and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes and stir well to combine.

3 Add the chicken, chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, peanut butter, peanuts, coriander and cayenne and stir well to combine. Bring to a simmer and taste for salt, adding more if needed. Cover the pot and simmer gently for 90 minutes (check after an hour), or until the chicken meat easily falls off the bone and the sweet potatoes are tender.

4 Remove the chicken pieces and set them in a bowl to cool, until cool enough to touch. Remove and discard the skin if you want, or chop it and put it back into the pot. Shred the meat off the bones and put the meat back in the pot.

5 Adjust the seasonings for salt and cayenne, then add as much black pepper as you think you can stand—the stew should be peppery. Stir in the cilantro and serve by itself, or with simple steamed rice.

Yield: Serves 6-8

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Colleen’s Turkey Chili (for the crockpot)

Everybody seems to have an opinion about what makes a good chili.  I know a lot of people enjoy the large kidney beans and lots of veggies.  I’m more of a purest when it comes to my favorite chili.  I prefer the small, firm chili beans and aside from the tomatoes and onions, no other veggies.  When I originally began making this chili, I used hamburger.  Then one day in an attempt to make it healthier, I begrudgingly tried ground turkey.  Honestly, this is one of those recipes where it is really hard to tell the difference.  Because the ground turkey has been cooking in the chili sauce for four or five hours, it just tastes like chili meat.  So I’m sticking with the turkey (but hamburger is tasty too).

COLLEEN’S TURKEY CHILI

1+ lbs. ground turkey or hamburger

1 onion, chopped

3 (15 oz) cans chili beans

1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes

3 tsp. Worcestershire

3 tsp. vinegar

3 tsp. brown sugar

2 tsp. lemon juice

1 tsp. salt (or to taste)

1 tsp. dry mustard

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 TBS chili powder

1. Brown ground turkey or hamburger and chopped onions in skillet.  Drain and place in slow cooker.

2. Add rest of ingredients.  Mix well.  Cook on high for four or five hours.  Serve with favorite chili toppings.

Greek Chicken Bake (revised)

 

Super easy dinner – and tasty!  My husband and children enjoyed it just as it is in the picture.  I also prepared a tzatziki sauce (earlier in the day for best flavor) for dipping, which I found made this simple dish delicious.  (But then, I would dip almost anything in tzatziki sauce, so maybe I’m not the best judge.)  I found the original recipe for the chicken at Simply Delicious.  I basically followed her recipe, but added red potatoes, zucchini and feta.  I also needed to cook it much longer than she noted.

GREEK CHICKEN BAKE

6 to 8 chicken thighs, skin on
1 head of garlic, individual cloves peeled
1 red onions, cut into small wedges
3 or 4 red or white potatoes, cut up into bite sized pieces

1 large zucchini, cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup (or more) feta cheese

Kalamata olives to taste
olive oil, to drizzle
2 tsp dried oregano or Greek seasoning
salt & pepper to taste
juice of 1 lemon

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Place the potatoes, red onion wedges, zucchini, whole garlic cloves, feta and calamata olives in a large, oven-proof dish coated with Pam.  Add chicken thighs on top.
  3. Drizzle the lemon juice and olive oil over everything.  Sprinkle with dried herbs and salt/pepper.
  4. Place it in the oven and allow to roast for about an hour or until the chicken is cooked throughout and the skin is golden and crisp.
  5. Serve with Tzatziki (my favorite recipe here: Anghelika’s Tsatsiki), warm pita breads and extra lemon wedges, if desired, although this dish makes an excellent sauce on its own.

P.S. Look at my picture and you’ll notice that I forgot the Kalamata olives – sob!

Pink Sauce

(Except in my picture it looks rather orange.)  This is a lovely sauce for pasta.  It combines a tomato sauce and a white sauce, turning them into an elegant pink sauce.  I often serve it over cheese tortellini as a side dish.  In the picture above, I served it over lobster ravioli (Costco), which was the main course.  It made for a perfect Valentine’s meal.

White Sauce:

1/4 cup butter

1/4 cup flour

2 cups milk

1 tsp. salt

1/2 cup parmesan

Marinara Sauce:

1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes

2 or 3 TBS tomato paste (not really necessary)

2 TBS olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

1.  For the white sauce, melt the butter over medium heat and stir in flour.  Slowly add milk, whisking the entire time.  Slowly bring to a boil while continuing to stir, until mixture thickens.  Add salt and parmesan.

2. You can use your favorite marinara sauce, or make this quickie version: Heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic, stirring for about two minutes (do not brown).  Add tomatoes (and tomato paste, if using) and simmer over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes.

3. Combine both sauces and heat through.  (If using jarred marinara, add about a cup or more, depending on your preference).

Weeknight Bolognese

Growing up, this is what my family referred to as “spaghetti.”  Somewhere in the eighties, we learned that spaghetti is actually the type of pasta, and the thick, Italian meat sauce we favored was called Bolognese.  But the picture above is what we meant when we said we were having spaghetti for dinner.  This recipe was awesome.  It did not take hours to make, yet the flavor was rich and hearty – exactly what I remembered from my childhood when my mother used to make her own spaghetti meat sauce (which was most likely from an old Betty Crocker cookbook).  I found this recipe at Ezra Pound Cake.  I followed it exactly, but in my opinion, the little bit of cream was unnecessary and parmesan sprinkled on top of each serving is sufficient.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Weeknight Bolognese

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?”

Makes 4 to 5 servings

  • 2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
  • 1 POUND LEAN GROUND SIRLOIN
  • 4 TEASPOONS MINCED GARLIC (4 CLOVES)
  • 1 TABLESPOON DRIED OREGANO
  • 1/4 TEASPOON CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES
  • 3/4 TO 1 1/4 CUPS DRY RED WINE, DIVIDED
  • 1 (28-OUNCE) CAN CRUSHED TOMATOES, PREFERABLY SAN MARZANO
  • 2 TABLESPOONS TOMATO PASTE
  • KOSHER SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
  • 3/4 POUND DRIED PASTA, LIKE MEDIUM SHELLS OR ORECCHIETTE
  • 1/4 CUP CHOPPED FRESH BASIL LEAVES, LIGHTLY PACKED
  • 1/4 CUP HEAVY CREAM
  • 1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE, PLUS EXTRA FOR SERVING
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or round Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color.
  2. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Save 1/4 cup of the wine to finish the sauce, and pour the rest in now.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook the pasta, according to the instructions on the package.
  7. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine, the basil and the cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
  8. When the pasta is done, drain and pour it into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Toss well. Serve hot with extra Parmesan on the table.