Chicken and Peanut Stew
- SERVINGS: 4 to 6
Jacques Pépin created this hearty stew with ingredients he found at the Livingstone Farmers' Market. Peanuts are a southern African staple and figure prominently in local dishes.
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- One 3 1/2-pound chickencut into 8 pieces, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 2 small onions, coarsely chopped
- 1 jalapeñostemmed, seeded and minced
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
- 1/2 cup raw peanuts (2 1/2 ounces)
- 8 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1 1/2 -inch chunks
- 1 1/2 pounds long thin eggplants, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 inches thick
- 2 small yellow squash, sliced crosswise 1 1/2 inches thick
- 1 bunch scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths
- In a sturdy plastic bag, combine the cornmeal with salt and pepper. Add the chicken in batches and shake to coat.
- In a large heavy casserole, heat the oil until shimmering. Add the chicken and fry over moderately high heat, turning once, until well-browned, about 12 minutes; reduce the heat if the chicken browns too quickly. Transfer the chicken to a large platter.
- Pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the casserole. Add the onions and jalapeño and cook over low heat until just softened, about 3 minutes. Add the water, vinegar, peanuts and garlic, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Return the chicken to the casserole, cover and simmer over low heat until tender and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Transfer the chicken to a platter.
- Add the sweet potato, eggplants and yellow squash to the casserole. Cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables are very tender, about 1 hour. Return the chicken to the casserole, add the scallions and simmer until the scallions are tender and the chicken is hot, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and serve.
This dish pairs well with a medium-bodied, bright-flavored red, like a South African Pinotage.
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Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.