This spicy soup is inspired by the popular hearty African peanut stew, which is characteristically very thick as well. However, this easy paleo recipe uses almond butter to provide the hint of nutty flavor instead of peanut butter. The creamy, nourishing soup is composed of basic ingredients, ideal for cold days and lazy weekends.
Chicken peanut stew is common in much of West Africa in various forms. The earthy, rich flavors were the inspiration for my simplified version of the stew. Tangy tomatoes serve as the base of the stew, which slowly simmers with chicken to produce a hearty dinner.
Brown the chicken to start cooking the recipe, just a quick sear. I used chicken breasts because I had them readily available, but I think that chicken thighs would work even better in this recipe. Then sauté the onion in a medium Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan for 4-5 minutes until soft. Stir in the garlic and ginger and sauté until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes more.
The next step is to add the tomato puree, which is thicker that tomato sauce (use tomato paste if no tomato puree is available), and the vegetable broth. Cinnamon, coriander, and cayenne provide the seasoning to the stew. Once this mixture is simmering you can add the chicken into the pot and cover it. Simmer for about half an hour, or until the chicken is completely cooked through.
The bell pepper is added to the stew to simmer for another 10 minutes. Lastly, the almond butter is whisked in to help thicken the stew and provide the nutty flavoring. Vegetables or perhaps sweet potato would make good accompaniments to the thick stew. I opted to serve the stew alongside cauliflower rice. It soaked up all of the delicious flavors beautifully.
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 1/2 cup tomato puree
- 3 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1/3 cup almond butter
- 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Season the chicken generously with salt and pepper and place into the skillet. Brown on each side for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté for 4-5 minutes until soft. Add the garlic, ginger, and one teaspoon of salt and cook for one minute more.
- Add the tomato puree and vegetable broth. Stir in the coriander, cinnamon, and cayenne. Bring to a simmer and then add the chicken. Cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove the lid and add the bell pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes more and adjust seasonings to taste. Whisk in the almond butter to dissolve. Serve warm, garnished with cilantro.
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