West African nut stew is usually West African peanut stew. Peanut butter is whisked into the broth to give the stew a rich texture and slightly sweet, nutty flavor. Although a little peanut butter isn’t something that most people, even those following a Primal diet, need to avoid at all costs, it’s good to have options.
You could leave the nut butter out entirely, and the stew is still good, but the nut butter is what makes this stew unique and gives it a really satisfying flavor and texture. In place of peanut butter, almond butter can be whisked into West African stew with little noticeable difference in flavor. Cashew butter or sunflower butter can also be used.
“Stew” often means thick chunks of meat, but West African stew is all about vegetables. Sweet potato, bell pepper and dark greens of some sort (spinach, kale, collards) fill the bowl with different flavors and textures. In this version, chicken thighs add protein and heft, but are optional. Without meat, West African stew is still flavorsome, nutrient-dense comfort food.
Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour
1 tablespoon coconut oil (15 ml)
1 white or yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 pound (2 or 3 thighs) skinless, boneless chicken thighs cut into 1-inch chunks (230 g)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (5 ml)
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2-inches ginger, peeled and finely chopped (5 cm)
1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ to 1-inch pieces (13mm to 2.5 cm)
3 ounces (a few handfuls) fresh baby spinach leaves or other dark leafy greens (85 g)
Optional: Cayenne, red pepper flakes, chiles de arbol, or your favorite hot sauce, to taste. Cilantro, for garnish.
Heat coconut oil in a wide soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until soft, 8 minutes.
Add chicken and cook until browned on the outside. Season with salt, and the coriander.
Add garlic and ginger, cook 1 minute more.
Add the bell pepper, sweet potato, and tomatoes.
Heat the chicken broth. Whisk in the almond butter. Pour into the soup pot. Add cayenne pepper, red pepper flakes, or chiles de arbol to taste if using.
Cover and simmer 25 – 35 minutes, until sweet potato is soft. Spinach can be added during the last few minutes of cooking. Heavier greens, like kale or collards, should be added in the last 10 to 15 minutes.