WEST AFRICAN STEW
by Lawrence Davis-Hollander
This stew is popular in Ghana and other West African countries. It is often served with small dishes of fried plantains, sliced cucumbers, chopped tomatoes, peppers, and other vegetables. Adjust the hot pepper to suit your taste. Serve with rice or polenta.
• 1 (3-pound) chicken, cut into 8-12 pieces
OR 6 chicken legs, each cut in half
• 2 TB ground ginger
• 1/4 cup peanut or canola oil
• 3 medium-large onions, chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
• 1 TB peeled and chopped fresh ginger
• 1 serrano Chile, seeded and finely chopped
• 1 tsp ground cumin
• 2 cups canned or fresh diced tomatoes
• 2 TB tomato paste
• 2 cups hot chicken broth
• 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
• 2/3 cup smooth peanut butter
• cayenne pepper (optional)
• 1/2 cup salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
• 1/4 cup snipped chives or chopped fresh parsley
1. Trim any excess skin and fat from the chicken. Mix the ginger and 1 teaspoon of salt, and rub it into the chicken pieces.
2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stew pot, and brown the chicken, a few pieces at a time. Remove them to a plate and add the onions, garlic, fresh ginger, and any leftover ginger rub to the pan. Cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes, until the onion has softened slightly and the ginger and garlic are fragrant. Stir in the chile and cumin. Cook for 1 minute longer. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken broth, then return the chicken pieces to the pan and add the sweet potato. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
3. Remove 1 cup of the liquid from the pan. Mix it with the peanut butter, and then stir the mixture back into the pan. Taste and add salt, if necessary. Season with cayenne, if desired. Simmer uncovered until the sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.
4. To serve, transfer the chicken and sauce to a large platter. Sprinkle the peanuts and chives over the chicken.