As I mentioned before, we eat beans and legumes pretty often. They’re a great source of protein, they are easy to work with, and they’re really cheap. You can buy a can of beans for about a dollar, or you can buy a pound of dried beans for about $3 and cook them yourself. Either way, they’re an excellent value and are very good for you.
I’m always looking for new ways to cook with beans, and was excited to try this recipe that I found in Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian. It reminds me a lot of chili, with the tomato sauce, cumin, and kidney beans. But the lemon juice and peanut butter take it in a different direction that’s really unexpected.
Nigerian Kidney Bean and Peanut Stew
serves 4-6 (easily halved)
adapted and streamlined from World Vegetarian
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion
- 1 bell pepper, any color
- 2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 cup canned tomato sauce [just use one of those short stubby cans]
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons peanut butter, smooth or chunky
- 4 14.5 oz cans kidney beans [or 2 28 oz cans], rinsed and drained [OR cook a pound of kidney beans, salt lightly, and reserve the cooking liquid]
- handful peanuts, roughly chopped
- handful cilantro, chopped
In a medium-sized pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat and cook the onion and bell pepper with a pinch of salt for 4-5 minutes, or until soft. Add the garlic, cumin and cayenne and cook about 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup water, the tomato sauce and lemon juice, bring to a boil, and reduce to low. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft and the whole mess is saucy.
Remove about a cup of the sauce to a small bowl and add the peanut butter. Mix it well to incorporate, then stir back into the pot (this keeps the peanut butter from clumping up).
Add the beans and about 1 cup of water or reserved cooking liquid if you cooked your own beans. Stir to combine, adjusting consistency if desired (it can be soupy or stewy). Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until the flavors are well combined. Taste and adjust seasoning as necessary – if things seem a bit dull, try adding more lemon juice and/or peanut butter. Stir in the peanuts and cilantro and serve with a scoop of white or brown rice.