Maafe: West African Peanut Stew
By Nettie Colón
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, dice ½ inch
- 1 sweet potato or squash, dice ½ inch
- 1 teaspoon toasted cumin
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 6-ounce can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup natural style or homemade peanut butter
- 6 cups vegetable broth
- 1 bunch collard greens or other hearty greens
- Salt, to taste
- 4 cups cooked brown rice
- 1/4 bunch cilantro, garnish for serving
- 1/3 cup chopped peanuts, garnish for serving
- Hot sauce like Shahiya Chutney or Sriracha, optional for serving
Mince the ginger and garlic in a food processor or by hand. Sauté with diced onion and olive oil in a large pot over medium heat for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion becomes soft and translucent. Add the sweet potato or squash cubes, cumin and red pepper to the pot and continue to sauté for about 5 more minutes.
Add the tomato paste, peanut butter, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir until the peanut butter and tomato paste have mostly dissolved into the broth. Place a lid on the pot and turn the heat up to high. Allow the stew to come up to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, turn the heat down to medium-low and allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the sweet potatoes are very soft.
While the soup is simmering, prepare the collard greens or other greens. Use a sharp knife to remove each stem (cut along the side of each stem), then stack the leaves and cut them into 1/2-inch wide strips. Place the chopped greens in a colander and rinse until clean.
Stir in the greens after stew has simmered for 15-20 minutes and the sweet potatoes are soft. Let the stew simmer for about 5 minutes more, then begin to smash the sweet potatoes against the side of the pot to help thicken the stew.
Finally, taste the stew and add salt and more red pepper to taste. Serve the stew with a scoop of cooked rice, a few chopped peanuts, fresh cilantro and a drizzle of hot sauce, if desired.