About a year ago, I was reading this cookbook that my neighbor let me borrow. And in it, it spoke of a dish called Groundnut Stew. And after doing a little more research for a vegetarian version, I learned that this soup is also referred to as Mafe. This is a stew/soup that originated in West Africa and Central Africa and is traditionally served with rice or sometimes fufu.
Now I have a confession, I don’t really care for peanut butter. There. I said it. Even growing up as a child, I would ask for jelly sandwiches instead of the famous P&J sandwiches. I do however, love this soup. And believe it or not, I actually like peanuts. So if you’re in the boat with me and not really that fond of peanut butter, have no fear because this soup is GOOD! And you can always adjust the amount of peanut butter you use to your liking. Also note that you don’t have to use “peanut” butter, you can even use cashew or almond butter instead. Heck, and if you make your own nut butter, that’s even better!
As far as the other ingredients, it’s typical to use root veggies in this soup. So I chose sweet potatoes, but carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, butternut squash, or even pumpkin would be nice during this time of year. What’s most important is choosing veggies that you like. I’ve also used a Berbere Spice blend, that I can find at my local farmer’s market, but if that’s not a spice that you keep on hand or your market doesn’t carry it, then you can omit it, try to make it on your own like this, or you can order something comparable online.
Recipe: Serves 4 – 6
2 – 3 tablespoons of Coconut Oil (or an oil of your preference)
2 large Sweet Potatoes (cubed into 3/4 inch pieces, about 4 cups)
1 medium Yellow Onion (diced)
1 small Green Bell Pepper (seeded and diced)
1 small Red Pepper (seeded and diced)
1 small Jalapeno (seeded and diced very small)
1/2 inch of fresh Ginger Root (finely minced)
3 cloves of Garlic(minced)
1 teaspoon of Berbere Spice Blend (optional, but so good if you can add it)
1 – 14.5 oz. can of diced Tomatoes (Fire Roasted works good here) – or about 5 – 6 Roma Tomatoes that have been seeded and diced into small pieces
4 cups of Vegetable Broth
Sea Salt (to taste – I used a little over a teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon of Ground Black Pepper
1/2 cup – 1 cup of Unsweetened Coconut Milk (depending on how creamy you like it)
2 – 3 tablespoons of a Natural Peanut(Nut) Butter
(I used Creamy because I like the smooth consistency, but you can use Chunky if you prefer.)
Other Suggested Ingredients/Toppings/Add-on’s:
A handful of roughly chopped Spinach or Kale stirred in at the end
Thinly Sliced Green Onions
Freshly Chopped Cilantro
Steamed Rice or Plain Quinoa
Roughly Chopped Unsalted Peanuts
In a large pot, on a medium heat, add coconut oil, sweet potatoes, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, ginger, garlic, and berbere. Saute for about 10 minutes or until your onions become translucent. Then add your tomatoes and vegetable broth and continue to cook covered for another 15 minutes or until sweet potatoes become soft to the fork. Then turn your heat down low.
In a small bowl, add your peanut butter and then add a cup of the broth from your pot and stir it in well so that you have a smooth paste. This makes it easier for the peanut butter to mix into your soup. Now pour the peanut butter mixture into your pot along with your coconut milk, salt and pepper and let it simmer for an additional 5 – 10 minutes or so. **If your going to add any greens to your soup such as kale or spinach, do that now.** Taste your soup and adjust your seasoning to your taste.
Place in a bowl, add your favorite toppings and enjoy! xoxo