Peanuts lend flavor and texture to our version of a traditional recipe found in many countries in West Africa. Okra does what it does best, thickening the liquid as it simmers in the broth with tomatoes and introduces vitamin- and iron-rich Swiss chard, not commonly found in the dish. Creating a vegetarian version of this stew is simple: switch to vegetable broth and omit the turkey, adding chunks of tofu or cooked beans (such as kidney).–Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond
LC Local Traditions Note
Mafe, a traditional dish throughout many countries in Africa, was the inspiration behind this recipe. Mafe is known as “groundnut stew” in those parts of Africa where it’s found, drawing on the local term for peanuts. Here in the States it’s referred to as “African Peanut Stew,” a misnomer because it’s most common in West Africa, which alone comprises more than two dozen countries. (It’s also popular in parts of central Africa, too.) Each cook, village, region, and country has its own variation, making for local traditions. This peanut stew isn’t intended to replicate any one style with any specific provenance. In other words, it doesn’t have an exact culinary latitude and longitude. Rather, it draws on the commonalities that tie this dish to so many areas of Africa, as well as tossing in some decidedly non-African ingredients. Nonetheless, it’s spoon-licking good.
Peanut Stew with Turkey Recipe
- Quick Glance
- 30 M
- 1 H, 15 M
- Serves 4 to 6
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 (12-ounce) boneless, skinless turkey thigh, cut into 1-inch strips
- 1/4 cup water
- 4 ounces okra (about 12), sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
- 1 medium yellow onion, sliced into 1/8-inch strips
- 4 cups roasted turkey stock
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 cup canned or fresh diced tomatoes
- 1/2 cup smooth natural peanut butter
- 4 cups 1/4-inch ribbons sliced Swiss or red chard (about 15 leaves)
- 4 to 6 cups cooked white rice
- 1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice (about 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup roasted salted peanuts, coarsely chopped
- 6 scallions, white and green parts, thinly sliced
- 1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the turkey and cook for about 5 minutes, just until the meat is lightly browned. Transfer the meat and juices to a plate. Add the water and deglaze the pot, scraping up the bits from the bottom. Pour the liquid and bits over the reserved turkey.
- 2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the remaining tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the okra and saute for about 5 minutes, until a shiny, sticky film forms. Add the onion and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Pour in 1/2 cup of the stock and deglaze the bottom of the pot.
- 3. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, just until fragrant. Stir in the cayenne, garam masala, tomatoes, peanut butter, reserved turkey and juices, remaining stock, and chard. Simmer over medium-low heat for 45 minutes. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
- 4. Serve the stew over hot cooked rice and sprinkle with red pepper, peanuts, and scallions.
- Garam masala is a North Indian blend of spices, which usually includes cinnamon, cloves, cumin, cardamom, nutmeg, black pepper, and chiles. It can be found at specialty shops and some supermarkets. It’s true that most commercially sold curry powders are also a blend of spices, but garam masala’s constituents make for a different flavor profile. So while this recipe would still be delicious using curry powder as a substitute for garam masala, it wouldn’t be quite the same.
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Peanut Stew with Turkey Recipe © 2009 Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Desmond. Photo © 2009 Leo Gong. All rights reserved.