Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Counterpoint of Carrots

I had Senegalese Peanut Stew for dinner and it was incredibly good. The cayenne pepper was sitting in the back of my throat, present but not overwhelming. Then, I would run into ginger which also had a little power to it but it was tamed by the sweet in the potato. The carrots provided a nice counterpoint to the sweet potato. Mmmmm, mmmm. I did miss the cornbread though.

I remember my grandmother would add butter and syrup to her cornbread and my mother would tell her that there was already butter in the cornbread and to add more was pure decadence. I guess that everyone needs to be decadent every once in awhile.

Senegalese Peanut Stew

2 tablespoons peanut oil
2 medium onions, roughly chopped
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 carrots, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to taste)
4 cups vegetable broth (preferably no-salt)
1 cup creamy natural peanut butter

Heat a large saucepan over a medium flame. Pour in the oil, wait a second or two, then add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and golden, about 2 minutes.

Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and garlic. Cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.

Add the ginger, cloves, salt and cayenne. Cook for 10 seconds, then add the broth. Bring the mixture to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.

Stir in the peanut butter until smooth. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until the sweet potato is tender and the soup is quite thick. Stir often to prevent scorching. Cool for 5 minutes off the heat before serving.

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