(Full Disclosure: I don't often cook African food with measurements. Its always, a scoop of this, a handful of that and a pinch of whatever is handy...so this recipe is an approximation. Please fill free to edit at will to create your own magical ground nut soup)
1 cup Peanut Butter (creamy or crunchy)-- Traditionally, the peanuts were ground by hand rolling a glass bottle over shelled roasted peanuts on a hard surface...but...uhm...I get a much more satisfying upper body workout opening a jar of PB...hehehe!
2 fillets of chicken (cubed) or whatever parts of chicken you have laying around)
2 1/2 cups water
3TBS of Gochujang (Korean Red Pepper Paste) -- In West Africa, of course people just use red pepper powder or they make pepper paste by rhythmically smashing peppers in a giant mortar using a giant pestle (cough, cough...pepper vapor everywhere). Once again, I find tons of zen in simply scooping out gorgeous heaps of ready made S. Korean pepper paste. You can now buy little red tubs of Gochujang @ Meijer (International Isle next to the Japanese foods). However, you will soon find yourself running to the local Oriental marts and Bing markets to buy the giant tubs of this stuff. Because Gochujang a paste, it thickens pretty much any broth you put it in. It is my favorite secret spice and I use it in place of tomato paste in spaghetti and pizza sauce (you will forget Marinara sauce after you try Gochujang sauce), America style soups, stews, and even curries....I even made Gochujang biscuits...God bless globalization!! If you want to stay a bit closer to your tastes comfort zone, tomato paste with a liberal hand of pepper flakes make a great substitute
Salt to taste
Brown the chicken and drain excess oils. Pour in water. When water is hot (not boiling) add the peanut butter. When the peanut butter has melted, add pepper sauce (or tomato sauce and pepper flakes). Steer the pepper sauce well. Bring to a boil for about 2-3 min and then simmer until chicken is completely cooked. This should resemble a pot of stew at this point (not runny like a broth and not thick like a paste) as the stew cools down it will thicken.
African sauces always taste better the next day...not sure why. So, sometimes what I do, is throw the whole thing in a crock pot after I have cooked it stove top. Put the crock pot on low and walk away. About 30 min before dinner, I make rice in the rice cooker and about 10 minutes before serving the stew, I pour about 1/2-1cup of water (it turns into a paste in the cooker), taste (add more salt and heat if needed) and ring the dinner bell. A side of fried plantains makes this all better.
Basically the same ingredients but replace chicken with,
2 Sweet potatoes or One large yam (peeled and cubed)
1 can of white chickpeas (garbanzo beans), well drained
You can also use carrots, onions, mushrooms or what ever your favorite veggie is.
Bring water to a boil and add the cubed sweet potatoes. Allow the sweet potatoes to cook al dente (give your teeth something to do when biting into the sweet potato.....don't make the mushy...no one likes mushy). Then add the peanut butter. When PB is melted into the water, add the pepper paste (or tomatoes paste and pepper flakes). Bring to boil (2-3 min..until the whole thing is nice and hot). Add drained chickpeas and allow them to heat up too. Add salt to taste and DONE!! (Total time from the time the water starts to boil...15-20 min....hehehe)
Optional Side dishes
To impress your friends, serve the peanut stew surrounded by small bowls shaved coconut, salted peanuts, cashews, canned pineapple, green onions, cubed mango, raisins, chopped dates and maybe even a side of fried plantains. Guests can then customize their peanut stew and rice to their taste.