Thick sweet potato slabs are nestled in tender kale leaves and savory African peanut stew. Serve it up with rice and crunchy roasted peanuts for a hearty and delicious winter meal.
This post, my friends, has been a long time coming. When I first met my husband and he found out how into cooking I was, he insisted that I had to try some African peanut stew. When I started blogging that turned into insistence that I had to blog some African peanut stew. That all sounded good to me, but I held off because I really wanted to try a bowl from someone who knew what they were doing first. There was a Kenyan place that he visited a bunch of times, and they served up bowls of vegan peanut stew, each with a giant hunk of sweet potato at the bottom.
We ventured out to get me a bowl of peanut stew, and were sad to discover that the place closed. I spent the next few years dreaming of peanut stew, and I did locate a few places in Philly that had it on the menu, but every time I called one of these restaurants to inquire I’d find out that their version had chicken broth (or something else I couldn’t eat).
Guess what though? I finally found some vegan peanut stew! And guess what else? It was at a vegetarian restaurant that I was previously unaware existed out in the Philly burbs. Double score.
It was as delicious as I’d expected, and tasted pretty much like I thought it would, though the version we had out was made with butternut squash, chickpeas and kale instead of sweet potato. (If you want to give that a try and are in southeastern, PA, head over to Mi Lah Vegetarian. It’s awesome.) For my version, I stuck with the big sweet potato hunk, but I also borrowed kale from the version I got to try. Digging into a sweet potato slab at the bottom of a bowl of soup primarily made from peanut butter is about the most fun you can have with your food, if you ask me. Also, this stuff might just be the ultimate comfort food. I can’t even believe I’ve been missing out all these years. Whip up a batch of this tonight. It’s super easy, and I promise it will warm you up like nothing else.
- 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes (about 20 oz. total weight)
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. freshly grated ginger
- 1 tsp. ground cumin
- ½ tsp. ground cardamom
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper (or to taste)
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup creamy natural peanut butter
- 1-6 oz. can tomato paste
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 4 cup curly kale leaves, torn into bite sized pieces (about 1 small bunch)
- salt and pepper to taste
- cooked rice
- coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
- Peel the sweet potato(es) and cut into ½ inch thick rounds. Set aside.
- Coat the bottom of a large pot with oil and place over medium heat. Add onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, cardamom and cayenne. Cook about 1 minute more, until fragrant.
- Add broth, peanut butter, tomato paste and maple syrup. Stir well to fully blend everything (a whisk works great here), raise heat and bring to a simmer. Add sweet potato slabs and lower heat. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Add kale to the pot and submerge. (You can remove the sweet potatoes first if it seems like things will get too crowded. If you do this, make sure they are as tender as you'd like them to be when you eat them, and spoon them out, onto a plate.) Allow to simmer until kale is wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon some rice into the bottom of bowls for serving. Place a sweet potato slab (or 2 or 3, depending on how many you've got) next to rice and ladle stew over sweet potatoes. Sprinkle with peanuts and serve.