Sweet Potato & Hazelnut Stew
This recipe is inspired by one of my favorite winter stews that always hits the spot on a bitter cold evening. West African Peanut Stew is a staple dish in African cuisine and has made its way out west and I’ve enjoyed it in restaurants and even in my own home over the years. Traditional African stew is usually a broth that’s made of a combination of peanuts and tomatoes with lots of spices. I wanted to make this a completely local stew so I swapped out the peanuts for hazelnuts and added a few of my owns twists with the spices. The result is a hearty stew that’s slightly spicy, sweet and is an absolutely lick the bowl clean kind of meal. So it’s not an authentic African stew but it was inspired by the flavors of that dish and I absolutely love this version. I make my own hazelnut butter which I like to keep on hand because I think it’s tastier than store-bought and is a hell of a lot cheaper! This recipe is definitely going on the winter menu rotation and I hope you all love this Pacific Northwest inspired version of an old classic. Grab a spoon and dig in!
Sweet Potato Hazelnut Stew
Prep Time: 20 minutes Cook Time: 30 minutes Serves: 4-6Hazelnut Butter:
- 16 ounces raw, hazelnuts
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 tablespoons hazelnut oil (or olive oil or ghee)
- 1 large onion, finely chopped (red or yellow)
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch chunks (no need to peel) about 3 medium sized sweet potatoes
- 1 (28 ounce jar) crushed tomatoes
- 1/2 cup hazelnut butter
- 3-4 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup parsley, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Add hazelnuts to a cast iron pan or baking sheet in a single layer. Toast the hazelnuts until fragrant and golden brown. About 10-12 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, pour the nuts out onto a large kitchen towel and use your hands to roll the nuts around to remove most of the skins (this will result in a creamier nut butter) you don't have to be perfect here, but the more skins you get off the better.
- Leaving excess skin behind scoop the hazelnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Blend the nuts until they become creamy, and slightly runny, this will take about 7 minutes so be patient! Stop to scrape down the sides as needed, the "butter" will be grainy and thick at first before it becomes smooth and creamy. Once the nut butter is creamy, add the salt. Continue to blend until well incorporated. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
- The longer you blend the nuts the runnier to consistency will be. I like my nut butter in that sweet spot of thick, yet still drizzle-able. It's preference at this point.
- Heat the oil in a large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until softened and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, salt, cinnamon, paprika and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook, stirring often, for about 4 minutes longer. Add the sweet potatoes and stir until the potatoes are coated in the spice/onion mixture. Pour in the tomatoes, hazelnut butter and broth. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes.
- Using an immersion blender, roughly blend half of the soup (or you can remove about 1/2 of the soup and blend it in a blender). This will result in a slightly chunky soup with great texture. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
- Divide the soup between bowls and top with chopped parsley, toasted hazelnuts and additional salt and pepper to taste
Notes*Use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary *Store hazelnut butter in a glass jar on the counter for up to 4 weeks