A colorful, African Groundnut & Chicken Stew that gets its flavor from spices and its own broth. By searing and simmering skin-on chicken, you can make your own broth with the help of a mirepoix. More flavor is added through the use of spices such as curry powder, garlic, fresh herbs, bay leaf, ginger, coconut milk and powdered peanut butter. This is a one pot meal that is great for both beginner and advanced home cooks. Beginner cooks will learn some foundations of soup making and will expand their skills while advanced cooks will enjoy a simple soup recipe that is sophisticated in its ingredients.
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What is African groundnut stew?
Groundnut stew or soup is a traditional African soup that is remarkable in its use of peanuts. This soup uses a variety of vegetables such as spinach, sweet potatoes, kale, onions, carrots, celery and chilies. It also varies in its use of meat. Chicken, beef, fish and mutton are common but a vegetarian groundnut stew can easily be made by using edamame or lima bean.
I have made a similar version of African groundnut soup called Senegalese Chicken Soup. This version is spicier than todays recipe.
Peanuts weren’t the first groundnuts in West Africa but were favored over the native groundnuts when Spanish explorers discovered them in South America and traders brought them to Africa.
Not technically a nut, the peanut is actually a legume that grows underground in the root system of the plant. For culinary purposes, peanuts are treated like nuts due to their high oil content and ‘nutty’ taste.
Using a mirepoix in soup
In the U.S., mirepoix is traditionally thought of as a trio of vegetables, usually onions, carrots and celery or celery root. I have seen some variations that add sweet peppers also. Mirepoix is common in soup as it gives soup a base of flavor which other flavors can be added to.
By searing skin-on chicken in a hot pot, flavor is started by the formation of a fond, which are the brown bits left behind when you cook protein on a high heat in a little bit of oil. The reaction that gives us this gift of flavor is actually called the Maillard Reaction. This technique is common in French cooking and in this recipe I take advantage of it and the addition of mirepoix to make the soups broth inside of the recipe rather than buying broth in a can.
Why does this matter to you? Because you can use this technique in your other soups and come up with your own soup recipe without using a cookbook. This is a great, basic, easy technique to soup making that will allow you to develop your own creative culinary skills and create your own soup recipes.
Searing the chicken in the soup pan with 1 Tbs oil develops the brown tasty bits called a fond.
Adding the mirepoix and scraping the fond allows the flavors to develop further. Add water and now you have a chicken broth made inside of this recipe.
Adding the rest of the ingredients and simmering allows flavors and depth to develop.
CONFUSED ABOUT THE DIFFERENT CHILI POWDERS? I’ve got the details in my article What is Chili Powder?
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