FTC Disclaimer- We are proud to have this post sponsored by Certified Angus Beef.
Our granddaughter's dad is from Senegal and a popular dish there is maafe (also mafé). There are many variations but in general:
- maafe features a spicy peanut sauce,
- maafe can have beef, or chicken,
- maafe can be a stew or soup, and
- maafe should pack a good bit of heat.
The first time I made it, her dad and family were visiting us. I was proud to have created something from their cuisine. They said the flavors were right but called it a phrase in Wolof (one of the three languages they speak) and giggled. I had to ask what was funny. The phrase translated loosely into "white man's maafe" or "foreigners maafe" because it was so mild in the heat department.
This weekend our temps dropped from a record high of 77 to a low temp below freezing in just a day so we were craving some hearty comfort food. Food City had some nice looking Certified Angus Beef stew meat so I decided to cook another batch of maafe - this time with more heat! See the Substitutions/Notes section for ways to control the spicy heat of your maafe.
|Maafe has a rich texture, earthy flavors, and should have a bit of a sting.|
You can make this a stew like I did or as more of a soup, simply by using your lid (see notes). You can also do this inside, instead of on the grill. Just use an oven safe, heavy bottomed pot with a lid. Do the sauteing steps on the stove top over medium high heat and then use a 350°f oven for the rest of the way.
Maafe - West African Peanut Stew
- Tallow or other high temp oil (avocado, canola, grapeseed, etc)
- 2 pounds Certified Angus Beef stew meat chunks
- 2 medium onions, peeled and wedged - about 2 cups
- 2-3 carrots, peeled and bias sliced 1/4" thick
- 2-3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced - about 2 cups
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced - about 2 cups
- 2 cups tomatoes, chopped
- habanero chiles (see notes for quantity)
- 1 cup natural peanut butter
- 4 cups beef stock
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 green onions, bias sliced
- salt to taste
For the Seasoning
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 1/4 tsp paprika
- 1 1/4 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp oregano
- 3/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat your grill to 350°f (medium) and place the cast iron Dutch Oven in the closed grill to preheat for 15-20 minutes.
- Make the seasoning mix. Mix together the salt, paprika, cumin, oregano, and black pepper. NOTE: If using a mild version, add the cayenne pepper too and you'll skip the chiles.
- Sear the beef. Add tallow or oil to the Dutch Oven and add the meat. Just don't dump it all at once, that just cools down your pot. Instead spread the pieces around and don't crowd the meat. Do it in two batches if you need to. Season with a few pinches of the seasoning mix. This should take 4-5 minutes per batch, just long enough to get color on your beef. Remove to a resting rack over a plate or tray.
- Saute the veggies. Add more oil if necessary and once it is shimmering (30-45 seconds if your heat is the right temp). Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until they start to turn tender, 3-5 minutes. Add the potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Season with the rest of the seasoning mix and toss to coat evenly. Cook for 2 more minutes.
- Simmer It All. Return the meat and any drippings to the Dutch Oven. Add the tomatoes and any chile peppers that you are using. Whisk together the peanut butter and beef stock then add this to the Dutch Oven. Add the bay leaf. Bring to a simmer. Switch the grill to indirect heat (see Notes). Cover the Dutch Oven, reduce heat, and simmer for 45 minutes in the closed grill. Your cooking temp should be 350°f. Check on it about every 15 minutes and give it a stir.
- Adjust heat and reduce the liquid. Remove the Dutch Oven lid and taste the broth for heat level. If it is where you want it. fine. If not spicy enough, cut slits in your chile peppers or cut them in half and put them back in. Continue cooking with the Dutch Oven lid off until the sauce reduces to the thickness of a stew. Find the bay leaf and remove it.
- Remove, cover, and let rest for 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with the green onion and serve. You could also do cilantro and or chopped peanuts.
- Heat level - For mild, use 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne. For "American hot" use 1 whole habanero chile. For "Senegalese hot", just throw in a bunch of habaneros. We used 2 habaneros and ours was as hot as I could stand it - it packed quite a sting. Also see the tip with the picture of the chile below for another trick for adjusting the heat level.
- Soup vs Stew - Maafe can be served as a stew like this or a soup (also called peanut soup). To make this same recipe as a soup, just reduce the cook time to 30-45 minutes total and keep the pot covered the entire time.
|As always, mise en place is even more important for cooking at the grill than it is for the kitchen because you have a long walk for any forgotten tools or ingredients.|
|Your target temp is 350°f. If your grill doesn't have a temperature gauge, you can buy a simple oven thermometer for about $5-7. (Amazon affiliate link)|
|Tip - Don't crowd your pan when trying to brown meats. I could have fit both pounds of beef in here but then there wouldn't be space between the meat and it would steam more than saute.|
|The beef smells so fragrant as the hot cast iron sears it and releases the aroma of the seasonings.|
|Make sure to have a tray or plate under the rack to collect any drippings so they can go back into the pot.|
|Don't clean out the pan between steps. You want to keep the layers of flavor in the Dutch Oven.|
|Toss the veggies around and make sure they are evenly coated.|
|The first time I cooked maafe, I used the same cast iron Dutch Oven but did it camp style, with hot coals under the bottom and on top of the lid.|
|Once you take the lid off, the liquid will reduce quickly from soup to stew, maybe another 10-15 minutes.|
|We served our maafe with rice which was a good thing. It was so spicy it needed the rice to help tame the sting of the habanero.|
|Here are some other ideas for using Certified Angus Beef stew meat, like this Beef Stew with Barley.|