Chicken Peanut Stew

IMG_2621Leftover holiday turkey—or a rotisserie chicken—is the main ingredient needed to get going on this savory West African-inspired peanut soup. I saw this recipe in the November 2017 Better Homes & Gardens magazine, and thought it looked weird. But weird intrigues me, when it comes to food. And since my husband and I had tag-teamed on the turkeys this year, we had plenty of leftover meat to use. (He did a 24-pound bird on his Big Green Egg, and I did a 14-pound turkey in the oven. The former for delicious smokiness, and the latter to make killer gravy.) 

How was it? It WAS weird, but in a good way! My son Mitchell and I loved the new flavor twist of the peanut butter, tomato and smokey spices, and thought you could even serve it over rice to make it even more hearty. But my husband kept making fun of the soup. Mind you, the man eats peanut butter and fresh tomato sandwiches throughout the month of August…this should be right up his alley, right? Then he got hungry enough to try it, and he liked it! Mikey likes it! 

I’ve made this twice now, and adjusted spices and amounts as you see below. One additional ingredient to the BH&G recipe, is chopped fresh spinach. I like to add more veggies whenever I can, and spinach adds nutrients without altering flavor of the stew.

Serves 8-10

1 tablespoon coconut or canola oil
6-8 green onions, sliced thin
1 medium green pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 teaspoons ground coriander
3 teaspoons ground cumin
½-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
3 – 14.5-ounce cans chicken broth
6-8 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
1 cup peanut butter (creamy or chunky)
6-ounce can tomato paste
3-4 cups shredded cooked turkey or chicken
15-ounce can crushed or diced tomatoes
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Garnishes
Fresh cilantro, chopped
Dry roasted peanuts, chopped

In a large Dutch oven, melt oil over medium heat. Add green onions and green pepper, and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until onions are tender. Add ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin, red pepper, salt, and pepper, and cook and stir until spices are fragrant, about 1 minute. Add chicken broth and sweet potatoes. Bring mixture to a boil, and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until potatoes are tender to the fork.

Ladle about 1 cup of soup broth into a medium bowl, and whisk in peanut butter, stirring until smooth. Whisk in tomato paste as well. Add peanut butter mixture, turkey or chicken, and spinach to Dutch oven. Cook over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve topped with cilantro and peanuts.

Curried Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

FullSizeRenderIf you’re one of the gazillion American’s who has “lose weight” as a #1 resolution in the New Year, here’s a low cal recipe for you. I figure it’s about 108 calories per bowl, if you get 8 bowls from this batch. And with lentils and sweet potatoes as the main ingredients, this is a super healthy, gluten-free soup, that’s surprisingly hearty and filling. The small amount of jalapeño cuts the sweetness of the potatoes, and it really is a necessary ingredient. I’ve tried making it without jalapeño when I didn’t have it on hand, and the soup was bland and tasteless, even with all that wonderful curry that usually holds it’s own in a recipe. Who knew a little pepper had so much power? It cooks up in about 30 minutes, so it’s not one of the more time-intensive soups in my arsenal. I cut this recipe from a Midwest Living magazine several years ago, and since stumbling on it, you’ll find it simmering on my stovetop at least once a month whenever there’s a nip in the air.

Serves 6-8

1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ or 1 medium fresh jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped, or 1 teaspoons of canned, chopped, jalapeño peppers*
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup dry lentils, rinsed and drained (that is ½ of a 1 pound bag of lentils)
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 (14-ounce) cans vegetable or chicken broth (or 4 cups water and 3 teaspoons vegetable or chicken soup base)
1 cup water
1 tablespoon curry powder
Dash salt

In a Dutch oven, cook onion in hot oil over medium heat until onion is translucent. Add jalapeño, garlic, and ginger, and cook a few minutes more. Add dry lentils, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (with juice), broth, water, curry powder, and salt. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 25-30 minutes or until lentils and potatoes are tender.

*If using fresh jalapeño or other peppers, wear gloves when handling peppers. Seeds from peppers can be extremely hot. Wash hands and all utensils thoroughly after handling any fresh peppers.