The original recipe of the African Beef & Peanut Stew, is structured around three main flavors needed to make it “authentically” African: lots of tomatoes, cayenne, and peanuts.
Traditionally, African peanut stew is made with raw peanuts roasted over charcoal fires then ground by hand into a flour.
The stew is wonderful when cooked with the peanuts processed that way but it’s very labor intensive, hence, you can substitute with an all-natural chunky peanut butter which though a faster and easier substitute, does not quite give the same taste.
There are endless variations of this stew and very little you can do to screw it up!
1 tablespoon oil
1 1/2 pounds beef, cut into chunks
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ginger, minced
2 cups water
6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coriander
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Take a Dutch oven or a non-nonstick pan, pour a little oil on the bottom, and set it over medium-high heat. Let the pan get very hot, then add the beef chunks. Do not crowd the beef. Make sure the chunks do not touch. Cook the beef until it’s nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You may have to do a few batches of this, depending on how much meat you’re using. Set the beef chunks aside.
Reduce the heat to medium, add some more oil to the pot, then add the onions. Sauté until softened. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2-3 more minutes.
Return the beef chunks to the pot and add water to cover (about 2 cups). Add tomatoes, cayenne, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 2 hours. If you find the stew getting too thick, add a little more water or some more tomatoes while it continues to cook.
Once the meat feels tender enough to puncture with a fork, add 1/2 – 3/4 cups peanut flour/butter and continue to simmer until the meat is very tender (it should easily flake apart) and the veggies have cooked down into a nice gravy, about another hour.
At this point, taste it and adjust the seasonings and peanut butter as desired. You can adjust all of the ingredients somewhat without causing a problem.
Serve over rice with a side of sukuma wiki (greens) and tortillas, ideally homemade chapati. It’s even better the next day once the flavors have really melded, so it makes great leftovers.