Thanks to everyone who left nice comments after yesterday’s post.* As my Chi O Little would say, “I was just having a day.”
*And in the same vein, I tried not to worry about just how many comments there were.
Now we can get back to our regularly scheduled Freaky Friday programming. For today’s post, we are inspired by the fact that a freaky foodie very well might come from a freaky foodie family. In this case, I must point the finger at Mama Smart, who’s love of peanut butter and tomato sandwiches inspired endless mockery^ from all the little Smart children while we were growing up.
“Ewwwwwwwwwwwww!” we thought.*
*Clearly this is before I learned [slash] implemented The Smart Kitchen Rule of “don’t yuck my yum.”
^Also, props to Mama Smart for never pointing out the hypocrisy in this. [Have you SEEN any of the crazy combinations I've made????]
But, well, I hate to admit it…but Mama Smart was onto something. Well, Mama Smart and the western part of Africa. Why? Because there is this stew–often referred to as West African Peanut (or Groundnut) Stew–that combines tomatoes and–y’all guessed it–peanut butter!
And when I told Mama Smart that for her (belated) birthday I was NOT willing to finally eat a peanut butter and tomato sandwich, but instead was going to use that as an inspiration for stew…I don’t think either of us (and certainly not Future Stepfather Smart) thought it would be quite as delicious as it was.*
*As in, one of the best recipes I’ve ever invented. EVER.
Seriously, y’all. I took some to my new school for lunch on Thursday, and when I told Mama Smart I’d absconded with it she sounded so crestfallen on the phone about not having the leftovers for dinner I pretty much felt like the worst daughter ever in the history of daughters.*
*I did sort of eat all the rest of her birthday dinner. But I choose not to look at it that way.
But no matter.
Geez, y’all, give me a second and I’ll tell
I’m a little busy drooling over here.
The reason Mama Smart shouldn’t worry is that–like all of my recipes–it’s uncomplicated and requires nothing fancy. In fact, you may already have everything to make it on hand.
Except the Costco-sized bag of peppers. But don’t worry about that either, because you really only need one bell pepper…in any color you like.
I just took advantage of having a choice and went with a little red AND a little yellow.
Since there was orange from the sweet potato it made for a nice “sunrise over the Serengeti”^ effect that will inspire everyone at the dinner table to break into the opening strains of “Circle of Life.”^Yes I had to look that up to see if I spelled it correctly.*
*And if it was in West or East Africa.^
OK. Maybe not. But a girl can dream, right?
As with most things delicious, this stew starts with a simple saute of onions, garlic……and grated fresh ginger.Hopefully you have less trouble finding the garlic in your kitchen than I did.Mama Smart thought she’d be clever and utilize the random terra cotta garlic holder she found while moving all of her belongings into Future Stepfather Smart’s house. Cute.*
*Until you are running around frantically looking for garlic because the pan is already warmed up and your onions are ready to rock and roll!
A little heat from some cayenne, a little tang from some curry powder, and a dash of salt and pepper and your seasoning is complete!
Vegetable broth and crushed tomatoes required.A side of Gossip Girl? Optional. (But recommended.)*
*And Brittany…I’m TOTALLY caught up…and cannot WAIT for the next episode!!!
This recipe sprang from my head (and hands) as most do: as an amalgamation of a number of recipes I had read or seen before (or during) the “making of” experiment. The recipe
from Moosewood*called for apple juice or apricot nectar. I split the difference and went with apple nectar! [OK, applesauce...but it's thicker than juice....so...maybe?]*And therefore, my favorite.
I stirred it in with the peanut butter, and I’m not sure if it really made a difference, but I like to think that it helped round out the subtle spice from the cayenne that finished so quickly and pleasantly, leaving just a hint of heat on your tongue.
I suggest serving this with brown rice. Or just eat it straight from the pot with your wooden spoon. (I’m not saying I did that or anything…)
If you’re scared off by the lack of green….stick some cilantro on it and call it a day.*
(Makes approximately 10 cups)
*Some people would refer to this as an “African” or “West African” stew, but I feel weird doing that as I have no actual idea if this would be similar to something they make in Africa. Instead, it’s something I made in Pennsylvania. but Pennsylvania Groundnut Stew doesn’t have the same ethnically exciting ring.
2 cups diced sweet onion (1 medium)
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne (ground red) pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1 Tbsp. curry powder
1 cup diced red or yellow (or a combination) bell pepper
2 cups diced, peeled sweet potato (about 1/2″ cubed)
4 cups vegetable broth
2 cups water
1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup peanut butter
fresh cilantro, for serving (optional)
1. In a large soup pot, over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic, ginger, and spices until onion is softened.
2. Add bell pepper and sweet potato, and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly.
3. Pour in broth and water. Bring up to a boil and simmer until sweet potatoes are fork tender.
4. Add in crushed tomatoes and applesauce.
5. Return to a simmer and stir in peanut butter.
6, Serve over brown rice with a sprinkling of fresh cilantro, if desired. [Or just eat it straight up...from the pot, even. ]