West African Peanut Butter & Sweet Potato Stoup

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Inspired by a fellow blogger, I finally cooked a long desired West African Soup, however, I chose to call it ‘stoup’, as it was thicker than a soup, thinner then a stew. It is full of rich flavours, has a kick and it is a perfect autumnal dish. The only thing, I didn’t have tomatoes, cabbage or cashew nuts on hand when I made this, so I compensated by increasing the quantities of some other ingredients.  As suggested by Sophie I served it with brown rice and added a chilli flat bread, made by Mark 🙂

WEST AFRICAN PEANUT BUTTER & SWEET POTATO STOUP

Ingredients:

2 onions, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 red & 1 orange peppers, diced

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced in cubes

scotch bonnet or other preferred chillies to taste

2 bay leaves

3 tablespoons tomato paste

8 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter

1.5 litre water

2-3 tablespoons oil

salt/pepper to taste

 Plus brown rice to serve

Method:

1. Heap up the oil in a large heavy bottom pan, add the onion, garlic, chillies, sauté until golden brown and translucent. Add the bay leaves, coriander, tomato paste, add a few tablespoons of water and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.

2. Then add diced peppers and sweet potatoes, peanut butter, salt and pepper, cover everything with water (or stock, if you prefer), bring it to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 40 minutes or until sweet potatoes are cooked through and liquid thickened, stir occasionally (otherwise the peanut butter can settle on the bottom of the pan).

3. Taste it, adjust the seasoning and turn off. I cooked this a day before we ate it, like suggested and I absolutely agree, it tastes even better the next day, all the flavours became even more vivid. Serve it with fresh bread, brown rice or bulgur.

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Saffron Chicken, Chickpeas & Fennel Casserole

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Even though it is summer, I do crave for some comfort food but a lighter version. This one is comforting but yet refreshing and zingy at the same time! It is not the prettiest looking dish but you’ll forget the look when you will taste it 🙂 Ideally, use a large heavy bottom/cast iron pan with a lid for it.

SAFFRON CHICKEN ,  CHICKPEA  & FENNEL CASSEROLE

(Adopted from Belinda Jeffery)

Ingredients:

2 large onions, diced

3 garlic cloves, chopped

1 bulb fennel, sliced

3 celery sticks, chopped

1 fresh chilli pepper, finely chopped

3 bay leaves

2 pinches saffron threads

1-2 cinnamon sticks (you can skip this if you don’t like or not sure about the taste)

6-8 chicken pieces (thighs, legs, on a bone)

1 can (400ml) chopped tomatoes

1 can (400 ml) chickpeas

green olives handful

Juice & zest of 1 lemon

salt, pepper to season

Olive oil

Method:

1. On a medium heat in a large heavy bottom pan warm up the olive oil and sauté the chopped onions for about 7 minutes. Add garlic and chilli, cook for another 2 minute. Then add chopped fennel and celery and continue cooking for 8 minutes. Crush gently the saffron  between your fingers to release extra flavour and add to the vegetables followed by cinnamon sticks (if you are using it). Stir and cook for 2-3 minutes.

2. Push the vegetable to the side of the pan and place the chicken pieces in a pan, let them brown a little, then cover them with the vegetables, pour the chopped tomatoes on a top, then fill up the can from tomatoes half full with cold water and add to the pan, followed by drained chickpeas (everything should be just covered with water).  Season with salt and pepper, bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with the lid and let everything gently bubble for 25 minutes.

3. After 25 minutes, take off the lid, turn the chicken pieces around and continue cooking for another 15-20 minutes without the lid. Close to the end of cooking add the olives and lemon juice and zest of the lemon. Adjust the seasoning.

Serve with steamed rice, couscous, naan bread or anything else you like 🙂

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