Peanut Butter Stew

One some cold winter night in Portland, ME, a dear friend gathered a half-dozen or so people in her apartment to talk and drink wine and eat a fabulous concoction of rice, winter vegetables, swiss chard, peanut sauce and pineapple. An unusual combination, perhaps, but so delicious.

I didn’t have quite the same ingredients on hand, but managed a similar concoction for my main meal this week. I love the warmth of the red pepper in the peanut sauce and the root vegetables combined with the protein of the grain and nuts make this a wonderfully filling dish. Or I might just like it because it’s a slightly classier way to consume large amounts of peanut butter – as opposed to eating it out of the jar with a spoon…

The Recipe: Peanut Butter Stew

Ingredients: 
A fair amount of sweet onion, diced small
1 large clove garlic
2-4 tbsp olive oil
3 large russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 medium-sized carrots, cut in rounds or diced
1 head of kale, washed, stemmed, and torn into edible chunks (You could also use swiss chard or spinach, depending on the season)
1.5 cups cooked quinoa (brown rice works as a substitute too)

2 cups peanut butter
1-2 cups hot water
Tamari/soy sauce to taste
Crushed red pepper to taste (or sriracha or cayenne or fresh hot peppers; anything to give it a sort of warm, slow heat)

Directions:
1.) Heat oil in a soup pot and sautee onions and garlic until softened.
2.) Add potatoes and carrots. Continue to stir-fry until soft or add some water to the pot and cover. Allow to steam until softened and water has boiled away. (You may need to add a bit more oil at this step.)
3.) While the vegetables cook, combine peanut butter, hot water, tamari, and crushed red pepper in a large bowl. You’ll want to add the hot water a cup at a time in order to have more control over the consistency. I made mine about the consistency of warm honey, but you could make it more like ranch dressing if you like a thinner sauce.
4.) Add kale to the mix. You can allow it to wilt as much as you like. I prefer more crunch for this green, so I just tossed it in for a couple minutes before…
5.) Add the peanut sauce and quinoa to the pot. Mix until everything is covered in the peanut sauce.

Serve hot and enjoy!

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