We left our more comfortable food areas of the Mediterranean and Middle East and delved into some African food. Will saw an African Beef and Peanut Stew on The Kitchn and just couldn’t resist and after eating it, I don’t blame him. He’s got a really good eye for selecting recipes and food for us to eat. He also has a ton of patience to handle pulling together labor-intensive, longer-cooking meals, much moreso than I do. I basically had no part in this meal other than to roll out the Chapati bread and throw it on the skillet, which was about all I felt like doing on a Monday night anyways. Luckily, Will gets off work around 4 and apparently started this meal after getting home around 4:30. We ate close to 9 if that gives you any idea how long it takes.
All that being said, this dinner was a feast! If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, it is totally worth it. Totally completely 100% worth it! I’m not sure I have ever enjoyed a “stew” as much as this beef and peanut flavor combination. Usually when Will suggests stew or soup I kind of just go “meh, okay, sure if we have to.” I don’t think I’ll ever say that again after this week, especially when the end result looks like this:
If that doesn’t make you salivate, you may not be human. Or maybe you are vegetarian; if you just pretend there isn’t beef in that sauce, it could totally work for you still (the sauce is extremely flavorful, especially when mixed with the bread and rice). Either way, this dish is as succulent as it looks, as a certain university president would perhaps say. Read on for recipes!
African Beef and Peanut Stew (adapted from The Kitchn; serves 6)
1 tbsp oil
1 1/2 pounds beef, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp ginger, minced
2 cups water
6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped (or a 28 oz can of diced tomatoes)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter
Salt & pepper to taste
Take a Dutch oven or a non-nonstick pan, pour a little oil on the bottom, and set it over medium-high heat. Let the pan get really hot, then add the beef chunks without letting the chunks touch. Cook the beef until it’s nicely browned, 2-3 minutes on each side. You may have to do a few batches of this, depending on how much meat you’re using. Set the beef chunks aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add some more oil to the pot, then add the onions. Saute until softened, then add the garlic and ginger, sauteing for 2-3 more minutes. Return the beef chunks to the pot and add water to cover (about 2 cups). Add tomatoes, cayenne, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, S&P. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 2 hours. If it starts to get too thick, add a little more water or some more tomatoes while it continues to cook.
Once the meat feels tender enough to puncture with a fork, add 1/2-3/4 cups peanut butter and continue to simmer until the meat is very tender (it should flake easily) and the veggies have cooked down into a nice gravy, about another hour. Taste and adjust the seasonings and peanut butter as desired. If stew is too juicy, you can use cornstarch to thicken the gravy, but you may not need to do that. This is a flexible dish, so feel free to improvise! Serve over rice with a side of Chappati bread and Sukuma Wiki.
Recipe: The Kitchn: African Peanut Stew