Centristic Cooking: Maya Angelou's Traditional Groundnut Stew

Life & Love | Blair Bedford | 12/19/2011 | 06:00 AM EST

The poet gives this West African favorite a fresh update

Maya Angelou knows why the caged bird sings, and she knows her way around the kitchen. The acclaimed poet and author's 2010 cookbook,Great Food, All Day Long: Cook Splendidly, Eat Smart, is filled with comprehensive recipes that brilliantly connects to periods in her storied life. Looking for an appetizer that's different and rich in tradition? Angelou's recipe for Groundnut Stew is a mild-twist on the West African dish, using peanuts--called groundnutsin the African region--as the main ingredient.

Maya Angelou's Groundnut Stew Serves 8, as adapted from Frugal Cafe


2 whole frying chickens
1/2 cups lemon juice
4 teaspoons peanut oil
2 cups chopped onion
1 6-oz. can tomato paste
2 hot dried red peppers (soaked in water)
2 cups chicken broth (made from backs and wings)
1-1/2 cups creamy peanut butter
Optional Garnishes (prepare and serve in separate side dishes): Diced avocado, diced papaya, diced pineapple, diced tomato mixed with diced raw onion; chunks of banana, fried in butter, sprinkled with lemon juice (this is an important garnish for this dish, so be sure to include)


1. Cut chickens into pieces, making four drumsticks, four thighs, and four breast halves. Use the backs and wings to make chicken broth (need 2 cups for recipe).

2. Place chicken parts in bowl, add lemon juice, mixing to coat evenly. Cover and marinate at least two hours.

3. Remove chicken, pat dry. Salt and dust lightly with flour. Heat oil in 12-inch skillet, brown chicken well. Set aside. In same skillet, saut onion until transparent.

4. In a bowl, combine the chicken, chicken broth, peanut butter, and tomato paste. Add to the onion in the skillet, mixing thoroughly. Add chicken pieces. Cover and simmer 40 minutes.

5. Just before serving, squeeze the juice of the two red peppers into chicken mixture. Serve the groundnut stew with white boiled rice and the prepared garnishes on the side.

When You're In Love, But Your Man Doesn't Turn You On Sexually

related stories

Case of Sexual Reeling

When You're In Love, But Your Man Doesn't Turn You On

The Art of Letting Go

When Your Ex Moves On, But You're Still Holding On

Kelis' Chef Goals

Culinary beauty talks cooking goals

What Sleeping Naked Does...

Being in the buff can bring you and your mate closer