December 30, 2010 1:26 pm

Louellen Coker

One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is that I have plenty of turkey or chicken leftovers to make this sumptuous stew. While I first discovered this recipe in the Low-Fat Living Cookbook by Leslie L. Cooper, I’ve tweaked it over the years to incorporate what I’ve eaten on my travels and the content of my pantry into a family favorite.

African Stew
Hearty African Turkey and Quinoa stew. This version is missing mushrooms as we were fresh out when I went to make dinner. One of the great aspects of this recipe is that you can use your favorite veggies that you've got on hand.

When we toured the Tanzanian town, Moshi, we saw similar dishes at local diners made with a wide variety of meats, so I’m assuming you can substitute anything you like for the main protein.  (The appeal of what we saw is fodder for a different post!) I developed a love for quinoa while trekking in Peru, so I prefer that to the brown rice recommended by Cooper in the original recipe.

This quick and easy recipe has a long ingredient list, but the most difficult aspect of the recipe is dissolving the peanut butter!


1 teaspoon + 1 tablespoon canola oil
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed (this is where I use the dark meat leftovers from the Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey)
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon chopped, fresh ginger
2 red chili peppers or jalapeño peppers, seeded and chopped (I often substitute jalapeños from the jar in my fridge.)
14 mushrooms, halved or quartered
1 yellow or red bell pepper
1 handful of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
4 cups (2 cans) fat-free chicken broth
2 tablespoons peanut butter
1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree
3 cups cooked quinoa
1 can of corn
1 15 ounce can black-eyed peas, purple-hull peas, or chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Chopped peanuts, if desired

This recipe comes together very quickly, I recommend chopping all the veggies and meat, opening cans, and dissolving the peanut butter before beginning.


If you’re not using pre-cooked poultry, warm 1 teaspoon of the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pot. Add the onions, garlic, mushrooms, bell peppers, ginger, peppers, and cilantro. Cook for 10 minutes. Stir in cumin, coriander, cinnamon, and turmeric.

In a medium bowl, combine the broth and peanut butter. Stir until blended. Add to the pot. Stir in the pumpkin. Bring to a boil, the reduce heat to medium-low. Add the chicken, rice, corn, peas, and lemon juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with peanuts, if using.

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