Cold weather is stew weather, and here’s a recipe based on one I found on Epicurious. I made a few changes and rewrote the bizarre instructions and I think it turned out really well.
Chicken Peanut Stew
2 medium white onions, sliced
2 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 hot chilies, cut in half, seeds and ribs removed
One 3-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced
2 bay leaves
6 white peppercorns
4 cups water (or part chicken broth)
12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, each cut into 3 pieces
2 cups unsalted peanuts
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch cubes
4 tomatoes, cut into quarters, or 2 cups chopped canned tomatoes
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound spinach, tough stems removed, washed
Combine the onions, carrots, chilies, ginger, bay leaves, peppercorns, and water in a medium pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, add the chicken thighs, and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
While the chicken is simmering, toast the peanuts in a small dry sauté pan over medium heat until golden brown and fragrant. Let cool, then grind 1 cup of the toasted peanuts in a food processor to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Using tongs, remove the chicken from the cooking liquid and set aside. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to the food processor; discard the bay leaves. Puree the vegetables until smooth and return to the broth.
Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. When it begins to shimmer, add the potatoes and sauté until they are golden brown. Remove the pan from the heat.
Bring the broth to a boil. Add the peanut purée and the remaining cup of whole peanuts and whisk until well combined. Add the tomatoes, chicken, and potatoes and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and season with the salt. Add the spinach and stir until the spinach is wilted. Serve with rice.
The picture above shows the stew with the rice on top because I forgot to put it into the bowl first. The spinach isn’t totally wilted because I put it in the serving bowl instead of in the pot. The photo below shows what it looked like the second go round, with the rice where it belongs. The stew was much thicker the second night, but you could add chicken broth if you want more sauce. I love the way the spinach wilts in a few minutes after it is added to the hot stew, and I think you can put loads in and enjoy all that green goodness.
For those of you not familiar with black rice – you must try it. I think of it as brown rice on steroids, and I mean that in a good way. Nutritionally there is only a slight difference, but taste-wise and texture-wise I think it is much more interesting. Most of the available varieties I’ve seen are from Thailand. My bag is nearly empty so I’ll be stocking up soon. You need to try it. Seriously.
Thought I should mention that this is post number 200. I don’t know about you, but I’m impressed! (Not impressed with the photos on this post, so you’ll have to take my word for the yummy factor on the recipe.) Oh, and since I mentioned my knee the other day, I should say that it is on the mend. I was not very mobile for about a week and discovered that I’ve hyperextended my right knee. I’m going out on a limb (get it?) to say it is a mild injury that will heal in 2 – 4 weeks with proper care. I have to stretch, ice and be gentle with it while it heals. Apparently it’s not a good idea to sit away from your desk with your legs extended straight out in front resting on the desk, with a computer and/or a cat on your lap. Who knew?