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Peanut Squash Stew- delicious AND economical!


I've had this recipe tucked away for a while now. I came across it again during my recent reorganization of my recipe notebook. As good as it sounded when I first clipped it, inspiration took some time to strike again. A couple of weeks ago, I happened to record an interesting-looking 2-hour "Super-Chefs" episode of Iron Chef America, where the secret ingredient happened to be the White House garden. All the dishes turned out beautifully of course, but with vegetables as the star. The next morning, as I planned my grocery trip/meals for the week, I found that the majority of the dinners were fairly light on the meat and pretty economical as well (I spent all of $8 for this meal that fed us for days! I'll certainly tuck half away into the freezer next time.) This one was our favorite by far. And it certainly hit the spot when my sister stumbled in one very late night after a LONG drive back from Tahoe. Warm and hearty, she easily put away a couple of bowlfuls of leftover stew before heading to bed.

Peanut and Squash Stew
The original recipe came from Real Simple magazine and I also found many variations of African Peanut and Squash stew around the web. I happened to misread the recipe and added the entire can of tomato puree. I'll try it with the correct quantities next time for comparison's sake, but I really like the way this turned out. I'd also add a little more peanut butter to get more of its flavor with the increase of the tomato puree.

Ingredients
1 c. brown rice
2 tbs. olive oil
2 c. yellow onions, chopped
1 tbs. grated fresh ginger
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cumin
4 c. vegetable broth
1 28-oz. can tomato puree
1 c. smooth peanut butter
1 med. acorn squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch-thick crescents
2 tbs. brown sugar
2 16-oz. cans black-eyed peas, rinsed and drained
1 cooked chicken breast, shredded (I happened to have some frozen grilled strips from Trader Joe's so I chopped, heated, and used about 1 1/2 c. of those)
2 tbs. chopped roasted peanuts

Prepare the brown rice according to its package directions and set aside. Heat the oil in a separate 5 or 6-qt. pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook about 15 minutes. Add the ginger, garlic, salt, and cumin. Cook a few minutes more, stirring occasionally. Add the broth, tomato puree, peanut butter, acorn squash, and sugar. Cook over medium heat, covered, until the squash is tender, about 40 minutes. Add the black-eyed peas and the chicken and heat through. Sprinkle with the peanuts and serve over the rice.

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