"African" appeared in the description of the original recipe for this soup (from Epicurious), but on closer perusal, I decided it sounded about as African as the "African Peanut Chicken" I've been known to whip up in the Crock-Pot every now and again, i.e., not very. But since it has unusual flavors (ZOMG peanuts in a savory dish! A little bit of spiciness!), it's obviously got to have "ethnic" hung about it as some sort of descriptor.
The original recipe served four; I upped most of the ingredients (but not the chicken), bumped up the seasonings and put in more (and different sorts of) vegetables. The result: a substantial, slightly spicy and extremely popular soup. Hope there's some left for breakfast.
Spicy Peanut Stew with Chicken
Serves six to eight
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breasts if that's all you've got), cut into 1" cubes
1 Tbsp hot sauce (I used Frank's; Tabasco would have worked, too, but been spicier, which would've been OK with me but perhaps not with my family)
Salt and pepper
6 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy (I used crunchy 'cause that's all we buy)
1/4 cup tomato paste
4 Tbsp butter
2 small to medium onions, chopped
1 2" piece of fresh ginger, peeled and minced
4 medium carrots, peeled and chopped (this would have been excellent with butternut squash, too, though it would have taken rather more simmering time)
2 Tbsp flour
About half a 10-ounce package of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, OR about half a pound fresh spinach, finely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can of diced tomatoes OR diced tomatoes with chiles (my preference), drained
Salt and pepper, once again
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 cup chopped peanuts
Place cubed chicken in a medium bowl. Sprinkle with hot sauce and toss to distribute. Sprinkle with a generous pinch each of salt and pepper and toss again. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine broth, peanut butter and tomato paste; whisk until smooth. Set aside.
In a soup pot, heat butter over medium-low heat. Add onions, ginger and carrots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent and carrots are barely tender, about 7 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high. Add chicken and cook, stirring frequently, until chicken is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with flour and cook, stirring constantly, one minute more.
Add broth mixture, spinach and drained tomatoes. Bring just to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer until chicken is cooked through and flavors are blended, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve with a crunchy, colorful sprinkling of cilantro and peanuts atop each bowl.
And a note on this blog: As of today/yesterday, I'm making the soup one day, blogging about it the next. This is an attempt to optimize my posting time, which has been hovering at around 11 p.m. and which I have a feeling does not contribute to increased traffic. And as we all know, I srsly live for increased blog traffic.