I don’t know how the weather is by you, but so far my spring has been pretty chilly. This hearty, stew is so comforting on those cool, rainy April nights.
I originally came across a similar recipe on the New York Times website. The combination of chicken, sweet potatoes, tomatoes and collards sounded so delicious. The addition of peanut butter in this African stew was especially intriguing to me.
If you don’t have time to make your own chicken stock, you don’t have to worry about it here. Flavorful browned chicken legs make this stew taste completely home made. No one will know the difference.
In a few recipes for this stew, I’ve seen both chunky and smooth peanut butters used. I think natural peanut butter of either sort would be the best, but there’s nothing wrong with good old Jif (my childhood favorite). I’ve also seen versions of this stew with chopped peanuts stirred in. In my version, I like to use peanuts as part of a topping.
I took salted, roasted peanuts, mint and lime zest to make a fresh, crunchy gremolata-inspired topper. I also find lime juice (or maybe even lemon juice) to be an essential, yet nontraditional, addition. The rich peanut butter in this dish needs some acid to balance things out and the lime works very well with all of these flavors.
- 2lb bone-in, skin-on chicken legs or thighs
- 2T vegetable or canola oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 inches ginger, finely grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-2 pinches cayenne pepper, or to taste
- 1-14.5oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes
- 3C low sodium chicken broth, plus more as needed
- 4 medium sweet potatoes (about 2lb), peeled and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces
- 1 bunch collard greens, stems dicarded, leaves cut into 1-inch thick ribbons
- ¼ C peanut butter*
- Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
- Lime wedges, for serving
- 2T salted, roasted peanuts, chopped
- 2T mint, finely chopped
- Zest of 1 lime
- Heat a dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot on medium to medium-high. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Add oil to pan, followed by the chicken. Sear in batches for 4-6 minutes on all sides or until golden brown. Remove and set aside, reserving oil in the pan.
- Reduce heat to medium. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté 3-5 minutes or until translucent. Add ginger, garlic and cayenne and sauté about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and crush with a wooden spoon or potato masher.
- Nestle chicken back into pan. Add 3 cups of broth or enough to cover the chicken. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook partially covered for 40 minutes or until mostly cooked through.
- Add sweet potatoes and collards to the pot with additional broth and/or water to cover. I added 1 cup of broth and 1 cup of water to cover the potatoes and left the greens partially uncovered, as they wilt during cooking. Cover and bring to a simmer.
- Partially uncover and continue to cook about 10 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked through, but not quite falling off the bone. Remove chicken from pot, discard skin and bones, and shred the meat. Cook potatoes and collards another 10-12 minutes or until tender. The collards should have a slight bite. Return shredded chicken to the pot, stir in the peanut butter and taste for seasoning.
- Mix all ingredients for the topping. Serve stew topped with the peanut-mint mixture and lime wedges, and enjoy.
- I used Jif creamy peanut butter; however, I thick natural peanut butter (smooth or chunky) would provide the best flavor for this dish.