I love to cook, but lately finding the time between work, writing and parenting has been a challenge. Enter, crock pot. I’ve been trying out a lot of crock pot recipes lately for weeknight dinners. I prep the ingredients the night before, after my son is in bed, and stick them in a ziplock bag in the fridge overnight. Then, the next morning, I dump the bag into the crock pot, turn it on the “low” setting, and leave for work. When I get home, it’s ready to eat and there’s no need to hem and haw over what to make for dinner. This spicy vegetarian West African-style recipe is one of my favorites. It’s inspired by a menu item I love at a local brew pub, The Great Dane (and, coincidentally, it goes great with a cold IPA). The hearty texture and the multi-layered flavors are seriously crave-worthy. And, best of all, it is really easy to prepare.
Crock Pot Recipe: West African Spicy Peanut Stew
- 5 garlic cloves
- 2 handfuls of fresh cilantro leaves and stems
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
- Index-finger-sized chunk of fresh ginger root, peeled
- 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter (I prefer the natural kind)
- 1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and pith removed
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- black pepper, to taste
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can lite coconut milk
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks
- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 large red bell pepper chopped
- 1 (15 ounces) can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 4 cups cooked white or brown rice to serve the stew over
- 1 tablespoon chopped peanuts (optional garnish)
- In a blender or food processor, combine garlic cloves, jalepeno, cilantro, ginger, tomatoes, peanut butter, cumin, cinnamon, ground red pepper and curry powder. Blend into a thick sauce.
- In the slow cooker, add the garbanzo beans, chopped onions, red bell peppers, sweet potatoes, salt, and pepper to taste. Add the sauce mixture, brown sugar, and coconut milk. Stir to combine ingredients. (Or, if you are making it the night before, you can just put all the ingredients together in a ziplock bag and stick it in the fridge, then dump the whole thing in the crock pot the next morning).
- Cook in crock pot on low for six to eight hours. Serve over cooked white or brown rice and top with fresh cilantro and chopped peanuts.