West African Lamb in Peanut Sauce

West African Lamb in Peanut Sauce

This rich and satisfying lamb dish is perfect for warming up a chilly evening. Thanks to the spinach, it is packed with nutrients.  This sauce is also great way to get your kids to eat — and enjoy — their greens!

Peanut sauce has a special place in my family’s heart.  The matriarch of my husband’s family, his grandmother, adored chicken with peanut sauce.  It was her favorite food, and he has fond childhood memories of eating his grandmother’s fiery peanut sauce with chicken.

Amongst my husband’s ethnic group, the Appolo of Côte d’Ivoire, peanut sauces do not contain vegetables.  I adore the peanut sauces from his culture.  However, they feel like a guilty pleasure — too much fat and meat, and not enough nutrition.  Adding a few greens into the mix — as the northerners do in Côte d’Ivoire — assuages my guilt just enough to prepare this delicious sauce a couple of times a year.

West African Lamb in Peanut Sauce | cookglobaleatlocal.com
This delicious stew of lamb and spinach in peanut sauce is the very definition of comfort food. It’s bound to become a family favorite!

The Recipe

This particular recipe was inspired by Ndolé,  a Cameroonian sauce made with shrimp and smoked fish.  Since West African style smoked fish is a bit tricky to find in South African markets, I decided to vary the sauce a bit.  I’ve used tender local lamb,  instead of the gamier mutton.  I’ve also eliminated the smoked fish.

In West Africa, it is common to find the same sauce offered with multiple protein options.  Thus, this recipe would be equally delicious with beef or chicken, in lieu of the lamb.  Personally, I would choose whichever meat is freshest and most local.

As for the chilies, I have deliberately proposed one chili in the recipe.  However, in West Africa, rich, nut-based sauces are usually quite spicy.  When I prepare this sauce, I use 5 or 6 chilis as a starting point and break them down in the sauce to increase the heat.  Please feel free to adjust the number of chilies to your family’s taste.

Bon appétit!

West African Style Lamb Stewed in Peanut Sauce

West African Lamb in Peanut Sauce | cookglobaleatlocal.com
Jeanette Marie
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Prep Time:  15 minutes - Cook Time:  1 hour Servings:  6

This rich stew makes a tasty dinner for crisp fall evenings and is as big a hit with kids as it is with adults. A great way to get your kids to eat -- and enjoy -- their greens!

  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1 kg bone-in lamb stew meat
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 2 tsp crushed garlic
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 c boiling water
  • 6 plum tomatoes (about 1.5 kg), pureed
  • 1 habanero chilli stemmed and pricked with the tines of a fork
  • 2 crumbled Jumbo cubes (optional)
  • 400 g spinach, thoroughly washed, and roughly chopped
  • 200 g natural, unsweetened, peanut butter
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Heat oil in large casserole, set over medium high heat. Add lamb pieces to pan and sauté until thoroughly browned. Remove meat from pan.
  2. Add onion to the pan, and stir briskly, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan as you go. Once onion is slightly caramelised (3-4 minutes), add the garlic and grated ginger. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant.
  3. Add 2 c boiling water to the pan, along with the browned meat pieces and their juices. Bring to the boil, reduce heat, and simmer for about 25 minutes, or until water is reduced by half.
  4. Add pureed tomatoes and chilies to the pot and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 15 minutes, and add spinach to the pot. (You may need to do this in batches. As the spinach wilts, it will lose volume.) Simmer, stirring off and on, for about 5 minutes, or until spinach is well integrated with the sauce.
  5. Add crumbled Jumbo cubes, if using.
  6. Add peanut butter, one spoonful at a time, stirring continuously until all the peanut butter is incorporated into the sauce. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes to reduce and thicken sauce.
  7. Taste and season, as needed, with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve over rice or zucchini noodles.

Jumbo cubes are available at African markets. Maggi or Knorr stock cubes may be used in their place. However, we strongly prefer the uniquely West African flavor of the Jumbo cubes.

This dish, like many West African sauces, only improves with time. It can be prepared up to 48 hours in advance and gently reheated at the time of serving.

Nutrition label for West African Style Lamb Stewed in Peanut Sauce


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