African Sweet Potato & Peanut Stew

3 Tbs. water for sautéing
3 sweet potatoes, peeled & cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, drained & rinsed
2 red bell peppers, seeded & cut into 1/2″ squares
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes or 2 fresh, diced
1/2-3/4 cup smooth or crunchy natural peanut butter
1/2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
3 tsp. light brown sugar
4 cups vegetable stock
1 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
fresh cilantro, chopped (optional – for garnish)
unsalted peanuts, chopped (optional – for garnish)

1. Heat water in a soup pot over medium heat; add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes; add bell peppers, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 more minutes.
2. Stir in brown sugar, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper, and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
3. Stir in peanut butter, and distribute it evenly throughout. Hint: You may want to thin out the peanut butter first by mixing it with some water in a small bowl before adding it to the pot (it will make it easier to incorporate into the stew).
4. Add sweet potatoes, kidney beans, and tomatoes, and stir to coat.
5. Add vegetable stock, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the potatoes are soft, about 30 minutes.
6. Taste and add salt or other seasonings, if necessary. Serve in individual bowls and top with chopped nuts and cilantro, if desired.
7. Serve over quinoa, brown rice or couscous

African Sweet Potato and Peanut Soup

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cayenne
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, chopped
3 large celery stalks, chopped
3 medium carrots
3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
5 to 6 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons pepper
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
vegetable stock, as needed
1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts, crushed
1 bunch cilantro

1. Begin by heating a sauce pan to medium heat. When the pan is ready, add the oil and wait several seconds for it to warm. Add the onion and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until the onions appear translucent. When the onions are ready, add the garlic and cook for about 2 minutes until it becomes fragrant. Finally, add the curry and cayenne, stirring frequently, for about 1 minute.

2. Transfer the cooked onions and garlic to a large pot, then add the chopped sweet potatoes, celery, carrots, and peeled tomatoes. Add enough water to the pot so that the vegetables are submerged beneath about 1″ water. Set heat to high and boil for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and a broth has been created.

3. Let broth and vegetables cool, then add to blender or food processor, along with peanut butter. Process until smooth. Transfer blended ingredients back into a pot and heat on medium until the soup is warm. Add vegetable broth to thin mixture, if desired.

4. Garnish soup with chopped, fresh cilantro and the crushed peanuts. Serve warm and enjoy!

Makes: Approx 6 servings, Preparation time: 15 minutes , Cooking time: 30 minutes