Sunday, January 18, 2009

Chicken with Okra and Sweet Potatoes


Here is a simple hearty stew that can easily be adapted to your tastes and is a perfect dish to warm you up on cold winter nights.

Chicken with Okra and Sweet Potatoes
Serves 4

4 chicken thighs*
salt and pepper
1 TBS oil(vegetable)
1 medium sized onion
3 cloves garlic
1/2 cup white wine (or you can use chicken stock, or water)
3/4 tsp cayenne (optional- if you like things spicy)
1/2 cup peanut butter (whatever kind you have around, preferably natural)
1 14.5oz can chopped tomatoes pureed to smooth (or you can just use tomato puree- not sauce)
4 TBS water
4 TBS tomato paste
1 TBS soy sauce
14.5 oz or 1 3/4 cup chicken stock*
2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
8 oz frozen okra chopped (or fresh okra chopped into 1/4 in slices)

*You can substitute the chicken thighs for boneless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces, or chicken legs, or chicken breasts, or go completely vegetarian and substitute tofu or just use vegetables, adding cauliflower and green beans or whatever vegetable you prefer. You can also substitute any chicken stock for vegetable stock.

Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large saute pan (that has a lid) or soup pot. Add the chicken thighs, skin side down (or you can take the skin off before browning the chicken), brown until golden, flip over and brown the other side. Transfer the chicken to a plate or bowl. Add the onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes or so to begin to soften. Add the wine (or water or stock) to loosen all the browned bits on the pan. Cook onion until softened and then add the cayenne (if using) and the water, tomato paste, tomato puree, peanut butter, soy sauce and chicken stock. Stir to combine, don't worry if the sauce looks broken or chunky, it will come together more as it continues to cook. After well mixed, add the sweet potatoes and chicken thighs (if using small pieces put in after sweet potatoes are almost cooked) After everything is cooked through, add the okra** and simmer for 5 minutes.

This can be made ahead of time and reheated. Serve over rice.

**You don't want add the okra too soon or it will get overcooked, unless fresh okra is used. If using fresh okra then you would add it when sweet potatoes are still a little crunchy so the okra has time to cook until tender.)

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