Saturday, February 1, 2014

Chicken-and-Sweet Potato Stew

This is my version of this stew recipe from The New Southern Garden Cookbook. The flavor combination is unusual—it’s a little Southern, a little African, and a little Asian. Whatever you call, it’s delicious, and it tastes even better as leftovers.
4 bacon slices, chopped
1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
Salt and pepper
1 Tbsp. peanut or canola oil
1 onion, chopped
4 celery ribs, chopped
1 red, orange, or yellow bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. garam masala
2 cups chicken broth
1 (14.5-oz.) can diced tomatoes
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in cubes
1/4 cup peanut butter
3/4 cup lite coconut milk (about half a can)
1 tsp. red curry paste
1/2 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Hot cooked rice
Toppings: additional chopped peanuts; chopped fresh cilantro; cooked, crumbled bacon

1. Cut chicken into cubes, and season with salt and pepper.
2. Cook bacon in Dutch oven until browned and crispy; remove bacon from pot, and set aside to use as a garnish. Sauté chicken in bacon drippings for about 5 minutes or until pieces are lightly browned on all sides. Remove from pot, and set aside.
3. Heat peanut oil in Dutch oven. Sauté onion and next 3 ingredients in pot for 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour and garam masala, and cook 1 minute. Gradually add in chicken broth, scraping bottom of pot to remove browned bits and cooking until mixture begins to thicken. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Stir in chicken and sweet potatoes, and cook 15 to 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender. Stir in peanut butter and next 3 ingredients. Cook 5 more minutes or until thoroughly heated. Taste and add salt and pepper, if needed. Serve over hot cooked rice and with toppings.

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