What’s New For Dinner: African Peanut Butter Stew

Welcome to my series called “What’s New For Dinner?” This is going to be a weekly posting sharing a new recipe that I have tried throughout the week. This is my way of keeping our meals from getting boring and attempting to try new foods. I’m doing this fun challenge with my friend, Jenn from Super Jenn.

This last week, I wanted to try a recipe that I could make in my new Cuisinart Cast Iron Dutch Oven. I found it on a great deal on one of those daily deal sites. While I knew the pans tend to be heavy, I wasn’t quite prepared for just how heavy. I was off balanced grabbing the box from my front step and almost fell off of it as I was bowled over by its weight. I keep telling myself I’ll have to continue to keep cooking with it more so I can build up those biceps! :)

Anyway, when I was checking out reviews for it on Amazon, I saw that several people also bought the Glorious One-Pot Meals: A Revolutionary New Quick and Healthy Approach to Dutch-Oven Cooking book. So I had to check it out to see what kind of recipes it offered. When I was flipping through it, the one that caught my eye was one titled, “African Peanut Butter Stew.” Hmmm, a peanut butter stew sounded like something I might be able to get the kids to try—so I chose that as this week’s adventure.

Here’s the recipe and some pics to follow:

Canola oil or 2 tsp peanut oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3/4 cup white rice
3/4 cup plus 1 TB broth (chicken or vegetable) or water
1/2 to 3/4 lb chicken breasts or thighs
1/2 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and sliced
2/3 cup milk or water
2-4 garlic cloves, minced or crushed
1/2 tsp cayenne
Sea salt, to taste
3 TB peanut butter, chunky or creamy
3 to 4 tomatoes, diced or one 14 oz can diced, drained
1/2 sweet potato, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
1 handful of fresh spinach or 5 oz frozen

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2) Spray the inside and lid of a cast-iron Dutch oven with canola oil or wipe with peanut oil
3) Scatter the diced onion in the pot.
4) Rinse the rice in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear. Add the rice and the broth/water and stir to make an even layer.
5) Place the chicken on the rice. Add the bell pepper.
5) Whisk the milk, garlic, cayenne, sea salt, and peanut butter in a measuring cup until the peanut butter dissolves. Pour over the chicken.
6) Layer in the tomatoes, sweet potato, and spinach.
7) Cover and bake for 45 minutes or “until 3 minutes after the aroma of a fully cooked meal escapes the oven.” Serve immediately.

Here are a few pics from ours:

This is how the pan looked after it was done.

This is a picture of the meal, though not a good one as the veggies all seem to be hidden on the bottom.

I did enjoy the stew but I think I will do a couple things differently next time. I put the chicken breasts in the pot whole, and I think they’d be better cut-up and spread out across the stew as it will be easier for the kids. I also will add more spinach to it. While it looked like a lot when I put them on there, I forgot how much spinach wilts down and it didn’t seem like much after they were cooked. (If you don’t like spinach much, though, stick with the original recipe!) And lastly, I will definitely check my rice before taking it out of the oven. Only some was completely cooked, while the other was only halfway done, making it a crunchier stew. :)

So this was my cooking adventure for last week. (Side Note: Jenn won’t have recipes up for awhile. While she’s continuing to make one each week, she’s in the process of moving–and with three little kids. So you can all imagine just how busy she is and hasn’t been blogging much! ) Did any of you try to make anything new? I’d love to hear about it!