There are endless variations of this stew, and as my aunt assured me, very little you can do to screw it up! I've added a few other spices—a touch of coriander, cumin, nutmeg, and ginger—to her original recipe to round out the flavor, but the essence of the stew and its now-familiar flavor remains as unchanged as the first time I scooped it up with a piece of chapati, so many years ago.
African Beef and Peanut StewServes 4 1 tablespoon oil 1 1/2 pounds beef, cut into chunks 2 medium onions, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tablespoon ginger, minced 2 cups water 6 tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper 1/2 teaspoon coriander 1/2 teaspoon cumin 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional) 1/2 cup to 3/4 cup chunky natural peanut butter Salt and pepper to taste Take a Dutch oven or a non-nonstick pan, pour a little oil on the bottom, and set it over medium-high heat. Let the pan get very hot, then add the beef chunks. Do not crowd the beef. Make sure the chunks do not touch. Cook the beef until it's nicely browned, about 2-3 minutes on each side. You may have to do a few batches of this, depending on how much meat you're using. Set the beef chunks aside. Reduce the heat to medium, add some more oil to the pot, then add the onions. Sauté until softened. Add the garlic and ginger, and sauté for 2-3 more minutes. Return the beef chunks to the pot and add water to cover (about 2 cups). Add tomatoes, cayenne, coriander, cumin, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, until meat is tender, about 2 hours. If you find the stew getting too thick, add a little more water or some more tomatoes while it continues to cook. Once the meat feels tender enough to puncture with a fork, add 1/2 - 3/4 cups peanut butter and continue to simmer until the meat is very tender (it should easily flake apart) and the veggies have cooked down into a nice gravy, about another hour. At this point, taste it and adjust the seasonings and peanut butter as desired. If the stew is too juicy, you can use cornstarch to thicken the gravy, but you usually won't have to do that. This is a very forgiving recipe. You can adjust all of the ingredients somewhat without causing a problem. Serve over rice with a side of sukuma wiki and tortillas, ideally homemade chapati. It's even better the next day once the flavors have really melded, so it makes great leftovers.
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