Nothing better than peanut butter

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Is there anything yummier than peanut butter? Any food more versatile? A cheaper protein source that pleases grown-ups and kids alike? For me, the answer is definitely no. We’re a peanut butter family. We all love it in sandwiches, on noodles with broccoli and tofu (another recipe on my blog), as a dipping sauce, on apples, celery… on a spoon… on my finger… I even prefer it over almond or cashew butter.

Another thing I love is when one of my favorite things to cook happens to be another person’s favorite thing to eat. My burritos are one of those items. And now, this chili is another. How could it not be? Because, PEANUT BUTTER.

Full disclosure, I adapted this from Elisabeth Rozin’s Ethnic Cuisine. As I’ve said before, it’s my all-time favorite cookbook. The original recipe called for ground beef, but I’ve made it vegan and way more awesome.

African lentil chili – serves 6-8

2-3 tbsp oil

1 lrg onion, chopped

2 lrg red bell peppers, chopped

2 Hatch green chiles (or other chile), halved and sliced

2 15-oz cans tomato sauce

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

2-3 tbsp (vegan) worcestershire sauce

3 cups frozen corn, roasted, if possible

5 cups cooked lentils, de Puy or other green/brown variety

1 tbsp Tabasco, or to taste

1 cup peanut butter

Salt and pepper to taste

Serving suggestion- serve over roasted sweet potatoes

Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil and onion, and saute for 5-7 minutes until soft and translucent. Add the bell peppers and the chiles, and cook, stirring, until soft. Add the tomato sauce, barbecue sauce, and worcestershire sauce. Let simmer for a minute, then add the corn. Let simmer until thick, and then add the lentils. Add the Tabasco and peanut butter, and let simmer until the desired thickness, about 5 minutes. Add the salt and pepper, to taste. Serve on top of roasted sweet potato halves.

West African Peanut Soup and Ethiopian (not) Honey Bread

A few weeks ago, I saw a recipe on line for this Ethiopian honey bread I’ve been wanting to make, so today was the day!  I knew I’d need to serve it with something dunk-worthy, and tonight being my first EVER back-to-school night, something that could either sit on the stove or be made quickly when I returned, and so I adapted a recipe from my all-time favorite cookbook, Ethnic Cuisine, by Elisabeth Rozin, for African peanut soup.  (And yes, I’m aware that Ethiopia is in eastern Africa, and the soup is western, but they’re still TOTALLY delicious together, so whatever.)

By the way, while I pride myself in making most everything from scratch, you’ll notice a few short cuts here.  Sometimes, a mama’s gotta get dinner on the table!

West African Peanut Soup

  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen tri-color bell pepper strips
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 28-oz can diced tomatoes, pureed in the blender
  • 4 cups veg stock
  • Salt to taste
  • 9-oz pkg pre-cooked French lentils
  • 1 cup frozen pre-cooked quinoa/brown rice blend
  • 1/3 cup + 2 tbsp peanut butter, divided

Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add the oil when the pot is hot, and then add the chopped onion.  Let the onion get soft, and then add the bell pepper strips and the garlic.  Once the vegetables are fragrant, add the pureed tomatoes and veg stock, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Add the salt, lentils, and the grain blend.  Once the pot is boiling again, reduce the heat to medium-low and add the peanut butter.  Let the pot simmer until the peanut butter has melted into the soup, stirring constantly to prevent the peanut butter from sticking to the bottom of the pan.  Puree the soup in the blender, covering the lid with a towel, so you don’t get burned!!  It’s okay to leave some bigger chunks, but it should be mostly really creamy.

Ethiopian (not) Honey Bread

  • 1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups bread flour
  • 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour, plus more for the second rise
  • 3/4 tbsp instant yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp table salt
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil, divided
  • 6 tbsp raw agave
  • 1 3/4 cups warm water

Place the rosemary in a small cast iron pan set over medium heat, and toast until fragrant.  Put the flours, yeast, and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer, and mix on low speed with the dough hook until combined.  Add the toasted rosemary, canola oil, agave, and then the water, and let the machine knead the dough for about 5 minutes.  The dough should be very sticky and not entirely floured enough to come away from the bowl.  Don’t worry.

Place the last teaspoon of canola oil in a large bowl, scrape the dough into the oiled boil with a spatula, and then, with oiled hands, roll the dough ball around in the oil until it’s oiled.  Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel, and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours until puffy and doubled in size.

Scrape the dough back into the bowl of the standing mixer, and mix with the dough hook for about 3 minutes.  Place some whole wheat flour on a board, scrape the dough onto the flour, and then generously sprinkle more flour on top of the dough.  Fold the dough over a few times, and then place on a cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray, cover with the clean dish towel, and let rise for another 20 minutes or so.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Bake for 20 minutes, until deeply golden brown.

Let the bread cool as long as you can resist cutting into it and slathering Earth Balance on it!