To nourish your mind as well as your body

Anger and intolerance are the enemies of correct understanding.

-Mahatma Gandhi

Sunday, December 13, 2009

African Spinach and Peanut Butter Stew - Kwanzaa dish

There is no specific menu for a Kwanzaa meal, but according to my research Kwanzaa means "first fruit", and an important symbol of the festival is Mazao (crops), so it seems one should strive to include a healthy selection of vegetables and fruits in their meal plan. The following recipe is one I've actually made a couple times because it's easy and delicious, and it's very similar to several that came up in my research.

African Spinach and Peanut Butter Stew

2 medium onions (I prefer red, but I've used white ones before too)
410g canned tomato
2 lb spinach
4 tbsp peanut butter
salt and pepper to taste
oil for frying (I use olive oil, but you can use whatever you prefer)

Slice the onions and fry them in oil until soft. (You're going to want to do this either in a pot or a pan with high sides, because you're adding everything else into this.)
Slice the canned tomatoes and add them to the onions.
Wash, trim, and chop the spinach coarsely. (Don't skimp on the spinach. First, it shrinks when it's cooked; and second, it's your main veggie in this dish. If you're not a huge fan of spinach, you don't need to worry. You can hardly taste it in this dish.)
Add the spinach to the stew and cook, covered, over medium heat for five minutes, stirring to keep it from burning or sticking.
Thin the peanut butter with hot water (1 Tbsp at a time) until you've made a smooth paste; add that to the stew.
Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for another 5-10 minutes, stirring and adding water as necessary to prevent it getting too sticky or glutinous.

You can serve this stew over steamed rice, vegetables, mashed potatoes, polenta, quinoa, er.... anything you want to, really. If you want to add more vegetables to the stew itself, you're welcome to. Just make sure to keep your ratio of peanut butter and water right to keep that "stew" feeling.


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