Olaiya adapted this recipe from a braised version that she created. It is extremely successful as a stew and the peanut butter is a wonderful surprise. My dad had a stand by stew recipe that he brought from Arkansas that fills my childhood memories. This recipe feels so sophisticated when I compare the two in my mind. My hope is that this stew creates a food memory at your house. Dinner party?
Yield: 6 Servings
Kosher salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 (3-pound) boneless pork shoulder trimmed of most external fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tablespoons high-heat vegetable oil
8 scallions, white and green parts, roughly chopped (or one onion, chopped)
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes or a small dried hot chili, or to taste
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup creamy natural peanut butter
1 ½ cups of long grain white rice, cooked
1-2 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of 1/2 lime, or to taste
1/4 cup roughly chopped cilantro
1/3 cup chopped roasted peanuts
Sprinkle the pork pieces liberally with salt and pepper.
Heat the oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Cook the pork until it is a deep golden brown on 2 sides, 6 – 8 minutes total, turning the meat as needed. Stir in the scallions, ginger, garlic and chili flakes and cook for a minute or two longer, until fragrant. Add the curry powder and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, bell pepper and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat until the stew is at barest possible simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for 2 hours or until the pork is tender. Add the sweet potatoes and cook until potatoes are soft and pork is very tender, about 30 minutes longer.
When the pork is tender, stir in the peanut butter. Season with sugar, lime juice, salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot garnished with ½ cup of white rice, chopped peanuts and cilantro.