LC Authentic Experience Note
For a truly authentic mafe experience, ask your guests to take a seat on the floor and serve the stew and rice without plates and utensils, as is tradition.
- Quick Glance
- 1 H, 15 M
- 1 H, 45 M
- Serves 4
To make the stew, toss the meat in a large bowl with several good shakes of vinegar with your thumb held over the bottle opening. Add a modest drizzle of olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Add half the onions and garlic and set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, heat the peanut oil. Pat the meat dry, then sear on all sides until browned. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining onion and garlic, and sauté just until they are softened but not browned.
Scrape the tomato paste into a small bowl and slowly add the 1/2 cup hot water. Stir the mixture into the pot and cook until the sauce thickens and oil glistens on the surface.
Add enough stock to cover the onions and garlic (about 4 cups, give or take) plus the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer gently, partially covered, for about 30 minutes.
Add the remaining vegetables, nestling in the larger pieces, and the habanero and simmer until they are tender, about 20 minutes. Add stock if the vegetables are not fully covered. If some vegetables soften faster than others (the squash is likely to cook fastest, and the cabbage more slowly), remove them so they do not fall apart in the stew, and reintroduce them at the end.
Remove about 1 cup of the liquid and transfer to a small bowl. Add the peanut butter and stir to dissolve. Pour the mixture back into the pot and simmer 10 more minutes, until the sauce is smooth and thickened. The stew is ready at this point, but can be left to simmer longer to intensify the flavor, stirring in additional stock if the sauce tightens too much. Remove and discard the bay leaf. You can leave the habaneros in the stew but warn guests of their presence. Serve the stew over the white rice.
Recipe Testers' Reviews
Apparently, I like lamb again! My dad is a hunter, so we ate everything he killed growing up (elk, deer, antelope, quail, and more), and I swore off all-things gamey when I left the house at 18. I thought I’d be nice and make this for my husband, but as it turned out, I beat him to the pot and grabbed most of the lamb chunks for myself. We loved the peanut sauce, the chunky vegetables, and lamb. (I used 1/2 cup of butternut squash and 1/2 cup of potato and parsnip.) The final product was served over brown rice, and was absolutely divine. Mafe is my new best friend.
This recipe kept us warm and cozy during the big blizzard in Chicago. The amount of flavor in each bite is fantastic—especially when you consider the recipe’s simplicity. The thickness of the broth from the peanut butter, along with the textures of the lamb and vegetables, make for a perfect stew! I made two batches at once—one with lamb, and one that was vegetarian. I tried both, and honestly I didn’t feel the lamb added much in terms of flavor. I’ll go with the vegetarian one again next time. In the future, I’ll also add enough peppers so each guest has the option of more spice. This dish will become a standard menu item in our home.
Every country, every region of the world seems to have its own style of "boiled dinner" or stew and this is how I interpret this meal. A plain, simple, tasty yet not exotic as some people may expect. This recipe works well with all different types of meats as well as plain vegetarian with tofu. Thus far I have done it with lamb, goat, tofu and even venison. This is a good comfort meal for cold days.