Sunday, November 09, 2014

Comfort food for a winter's night

Since I started eating meat again I've re-fallen in love with this recipe.  It's pretty perfect for a cold dark evening.  Considering I don't usually like chicken or peanut butter consider it a winner.

Chicken and peanut stew
Serves 2
I chicken fillet, chopped into bits
1 400 gram tin of tomatoes
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon of ground ginger
1 tablespoon of mild paprika
1/2 a tablespoon of oregano
Couple of garlic cloves, chopped or crushed, whatever you can be arsed to do
4 tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter
1/2 a tablespoon of rapeseed oil (or whatever oil you have in the cupboard, butter would work too)

Mix the cut up chicken, paprika and ginger in a bowl.  Make sure the chicken is well coated.
Heat oil in a saucepan, add chopped onions.
Fry onions until soft.  I do this on a middling heat.  This should take about 5 minutes.  If you've got the heat too high they'll go crispy.  If it's too low it will take aaaaaaaaages.  I keep the lid on to help keep the heat in and get it to cook quicker.
Take onions out and add the cut up piece of chicken and chopped garlic.  Keep the heat on a middling to low temperature.  Fry until the chicken has gone white and there's water in the pan.  You know, I think this means I'm buying the wrong chicken, but it seems to be quite hard to find chicken fillets that haven't had water injected into them. Le sigh.
Anyway this stage should take about 5 minutes.  Keep an eye on the chicken - if you overcook it it will go dry and hard and rank.  I tend to keep the lid on as it helps the stuff to not dry out.
Once the chicken is cooked put the cooked onions back in the pan.
Add the tomatoes, peanut butter and oregano.  Stir everything until the peanut butter has melted.
Add about 100ml of water.  The sauce should be reasonably thick. You want to be able to stir it and not see the bottom of the pan, but you don't want it really runny.
Keep it simmering for about 20 minutes with the lid on.
If the sauce is really runny just take the lid off and boil some of the water off to reduce it.

Serve with brown rice (takes about 20 minutes to cook) and vegetables - I tend to either steam my veg or roast squash and aubergine.  If you are roasting veg you could add a sprinkling of chilli flakes, that would go well with the main stew.

You could add a bit of chicken or vegetable stock with the water too.  I'd put in just a sprinkling.  Any more and it gets really salty.  If you forget to coat the chicken pieces in the ginger and paprika don't worry too much, just add them after you've fried the chicken, stir everything, then continue as normal.  The original recipe calls for salt to be included in the spice mix, but I find this makes it ridiculously salty.  It also asks for a litre of chicken stock, but I don't think that amount is necessary.

To make it vegetarian you could replace the chicken with quorn chunks, but it's not quite the same.  You can't coat the quorn chunks in the spices to start with.  If anyone knows of anything else to replace the chicken let me know in the comments.  I'm a bit rubbish at being creative with recipes.  Quorn does soak up a lot of liquid though, so either use tons of oil, or cook the quorn in a little stock and the spices, and then add onions, tomatoes, peanut butter and the rest.

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