I recently hosted a dinner party for 12 people and wanted to serve cauliflower rice. But the idea of figuring out how to sauté, like,...Read More
West African Chicken Stew (Paleo, Whole30)
Whenever I ask Dave what he wants for dinner, he invariably says, “Chocolate Chili,” and when I reply that we just had Chocolate Chili last week (or last night), his second pick is always West African Chicken Stew from Well Fed 2. This is one of our favorite, go-to recipes, and I was surprised to realize I haven’t shared it with you here yet.
Confession: I have a thing for peanut butter.
Where “thing” is that I love it to distraction. I especially adore peanut butter in unexpected places, like soups and savory dishes. It was a heart-breaking day when I learned that peanuts are a legume and, therefore, maybe do not love me back. But sunflower seed butter is an excellent rebound partner, and this stew—traditionally made with peanuts or “ground nuts”—will win you over with its savory combination of creamy sunflower seed butter, just the right bite of heat (from the ginger and cayenne), and the underlying sweetness of vanilla and coriander.
Feel free to say “Abe baakon na sei ensa” while you eat it. That’s an African proverb that means “One bad nut spoils all.”
Serves 2-4 | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 70 minutes | Whole30 compliant
2 teaspoons coconut oil (or other cooking fat)
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1-inch piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1 tablespoon)
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 bay leaf
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup sunflower seed or almond butter (sugar-free for Whole30)
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (omit for Whole30)
minced fresh parsley leaves
Sprinkle the chicken with the salt and pepper. Heat a large soup pot over medium-high heat, about 3 minutes. Add the coconut oil and allow it to melt. Add the chicken in a single layer and brown well on both sides, about 10 minutes. (Don’t crowd the pan; cook in batches if you need to.) Remove the chicken to a bowl to catch the juices.
In the same pot, cook the onions and ginger until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, cayenne, and bay leaf, and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and water, stirring to combine. Nestle the chicken into the sauce, along with any juices it released. Increase the heat to bring the pot to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for 25 minutes.
Remove the chicken from the pot; it will be very tender. Break the chicken into large pieces with the side of a wooden spoon. Add the sunflower seed butter and vanilla to the pot and mix to combine. Return the chicken to the pot and cover. Heat through, about 5 minutes, then serve, sprinkled with parsley and sunflower seeds.
You Know How You Could Do That?
Replace the chicken with white fish: Skip the browning step and jump right to making the tomato sauce. Poach the fish (cod, haddock, sea bass) in the sauce for 6 minutes. Remove the fish, add sunflower seed butter and vanilla to pan and heat through. To serve, spoon the sauce over the fish.