Maafe a west African stew with peanut sauce

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Photo on 23-08-2015 at 19.40

This is a truly delicious West African recipe, a very savoury stew made with chicken or lamb and vegetables in a spicy peanut sauce. IMG_2512Children really love this sauce!IMG_2529

I like to make Maffe with Lamb but my wife she prefers it with chicken. when I  make Maafe with Lamb I buy lamb leg or a cheaper cut like shoulder on the bone cut into pieces from our nearby halal butcher, I also sometimes make this dish with goat or mutton as I like the stronger flavour. I never measure anything, it is all by what feels right to put into the pot.

You will need for four people

Lamb or chicken leg pieces on the bone 1/2 kilo approx depends how hungry you are. Or no meat at all and make it veggie which is just as delicious

cooking the chicken legs before adding the prepared vegetables

Vegetables of your choice

Vegetables I like to use are a combination of Sweet potato, Squash, carrot, potato, cassava, Aubergine, a couple of slices from a whole green cabbage leaving some stalk to hold it together, red peppers and sometimes some sliced green beans. Quantity I judge according towhat I have available, the size of my cooking pot and how hungry everyone is.

I promise these chickens were not cooked in the maafe, they were just curious and liked the look of the big tomato in the bowl

2 x Tablespoon on ground nut or vegetable oil

Tomatoes 1x Tin chopped or 6 x fresh chopped

tomato puree 1 tsp

Scotch Bonnet chilli x2 whole not split or chopped

2 Tablespoons of Smooth Peanut butter

Stock cube if you wish

fresh thyme a couple of twigs

cracked black pepper, salt

I prepare the vegetables by peeling/washing and cutting into large pieces as I want them to stay whole in the sauce. The cabbage I cut into segments held together by some stalk so they cook as a whole piece. the sweet potato, potato, squash, carrots I cut into approx. 5 cm pieces

I usually start by cooking the lamb or chicken pieces in a low sided saucepan with a lid that we have as it is easy to see what is going on and things cook evenly, when the meat is browned I add some chopped anion and a little garlic to the pan with the meat, I cook for a couple of minutes on medium heat then add chopped tomatoes ( fresh chopped or a tin) I let this cook down a bit until it gets darker and thicker then I add cracked black pepper 1/2 tsp, stock cube and approx 500ml water and bring it up to a good simmer for 15 or twenty minutes or so.IMG_2507

I then add my vegetables, stir, add a little more water if it is too thick but not so much water that it covers the vegetables, and  add a couple of whole scotch Bonnet chilli ( they must be whole and un pierced so take care of them when stirring) bring to simmer and put on lid

I simmer it for another 10 minutes or so occasionally stirring and checking it is not drying out and sticking, the sauce needs to be not too thick and there needs to be enough of it to just cover the vegetables.

I then add 1 large heaped Tablespoon of smooth peanut butter, it is easier to add this if you take some sauce in a bowl and stir the peanut butter into that and then add it to the pan. Taste the sauce and if you wish add another tablespoon of peanut butter.

the peanut butter will really thicken the sauce, add more if you wish but be aware it is a rich sauce and can become too much of a good thing! it can also burn easily so keep the temperature right down and simmer for another 10 minutes or so until all the vegetables are cooked and the meat is tender.

check seasoning and add more to taste if needed.

there should be plenty of sauce to pour over rice with the vegetables and meat. I like to have one of the scotch bonnet on the side of my plate to squish for its lovely hot juices. Serve with lots of fluffy rice. We usually like to eat it traditional senegalese style arranged on a large flat plate or tray with a bed of rice and the meat vegetables and sauce beautifully arranged on top, then each person has a spoon and their own part of the dish to plow into.
DELICIOUS!Photo on 23-08-2015 at 19.40 #2

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