By Julian Armstrong, Montreal Gazette

This recipe dates back to the early African settlers in Virginia, according to a new cookbook called Soul Food Love by the mother-daughter team Alice Randall and Caroline Randall Williams (Clarkson Potter/Random House, 2015). Peanuts, they write, were indigenous to Peru, were brought to Africa by Portuguese explorers, and then came to North American with enslaved Africans. The Randalls call this soup-stew an African classic. It’s sustaining enough to be a meal. Their book is an easy-reading history of African-American people and their cooking. Its 80 recipes have been refined and freshened and well photographed. All are easy. It’s a fine book.


Serves 8

3 cups chopped cooked chicken
1-1/2 cups natural peanut butter
1 can (28 ounces/796 mL) tomatoes, drained, or 3-1/2 cups diced, ripe tomatoes
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 teaspoon cayenne
4 cups (1 L) reduced fat, low sodium chicken stock or homemade sweet potato broth (*see recipe)
Salt to taste
½ cup chopped, roasted, unsalted peanuts

In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine chicken, peanut butter, tomatoes, curry powder and cayenne and stir in the stock or broth. Season with salt to taste. Simmer over medium heat until the peanut butter is completely blended in and the stew is a thick, even consistency, about 20 minutes.

Serve in heated bowls, each serving sprinkled with peanuts.


Makes 4 cups

In a large, heavy saucepan, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat and sauté 1 medium sliced onion, 3 chopped celery stalks and 1 chopped carrot until softened, about 8 minutes. Peel and quarter 1 large sweet potato and add to the pot with 6 cups of water, 5 whole cloves, and a little salt and freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer until the potato is soft, about 30 minutes. Remove cloves and purée the mixture in a blender or food processor. Can be refrigerated, covered, for up to five days, or frozen for up to two months.

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