These past couple of years, a few food blogger friends and I, contributed recipes to KwanzaaCulinarians.com. This would’ve been our third year, but I needed to rest. I regret that we failed our fans in this decision, but this is a better solution for me. In addition to taking a relaxing vacation from my 9 to 5 job, I’m enjoying this time of year more than requesting 31 food bloggers and chefs to take time from their busy schedules to write Kwanzaa-inspired stories and recipes.
I’m always grateful when food writers say yes to writing about Kwanzaa and contributing their recipes, for they never disappoint me. They understand it’s for the spirit of the community.
During this relaxing holiday week, I made a West-African Inspired Peanut-Tomato Chicken Stew. It’s definitely an Americanized recipe, but if you want authentic West African recipes, visit Funke Koleosho’s Contemporary Nigerian Cuisine (she’s contributed to KwanzaaCulinarians.com). If you want more Kwanzaa-inspired recipes from other food bloggers and chefs, visit the index here.
Since the first year of KwanzaaCulinarians, I’ve wanted to contact food bloggers and chefs earlier in the year to contribute stories. This year, with increased opportunity to freelance write for other online publications, there was far less time to commit to a seasonal food blog. Perhaps in 2014, with better planning, we’ll see new recipes for KwanzaaCulinarians.com.
Until then, eat well and enjoy your holiday.
Peanut-Tomato Chicken Stew
2 tbsp. coconut or peanut oil; more as needed
1 lb. skinless and boneless chicken breast; seasoned with salt and pepper; cut into 1 inch chunks
1 large red onion; minced
4 carrots; diced
1 green bell pepper; diced
1 jalapeno; diced
2 to 3 celery stalks; diced*
2 to 3 cinnamon sticks
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
Sea salt; as needed
Fresh black pepper; as needed
(Optional) Crushed Red Pepper; as needed
3 garlic cloves; minced
3 inch piece fresh ginger; minced
(Optional) ½-cup red wine
32 oz. low-sodium chicken broth
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes with juice
1 tbsp. tomato paste
A few twigs of fresh thyme wrapped in twine or 2 tbsp. dried thyme
½ cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. minced fresh oregano
1 to 2 bay leaves
2 to 3 small sweet potatoes or yams; unpeeled and cut into ½” chunks
½ cup unsweetened, plain creamy peanut butter
16 oz. green beans; ends trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
Garnish (Not pictured): Roughly chopped sweet and hot cherry peppers or peppadews
In a large pot, heat oil over medium temperature. Add chicken and occasionally stir until thoroughly cooked. Remove chicken to a paper-towel lined plate.
Add about a teaspoon of oil to the pot. Stir in onion, carrots, green bell pepper, jalapeno, celery, cinnamon sticks, smoked paprika, sea salt, black pepper, and optional crushed red pepper. Frequently stir until the vegetables are soft, about six to eight minutes.
Stir in chicken, garlic and ginger for about one minute. Pour in the wine.
When the wine is slightly reduced, add the chicken broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme, parsley, oregano and bay leaves. Slightly cover and bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning. Reduce temperature to let stew simmer for about 15 minutes and adjust seasoning.
Stir in sweet potatoes/yams and let stew simmer for an additional five minutes. Adjust seasoning. Stir in peanut butter and green beans. Cook for an additional ten minutes.
Ladle stew into individual bowls.
Garnish with sweet and hot cherry peppers or peppadews.
*If celery leaves are still attached and fresh, mince with parsley.