Groundnut stew is a staple meal from West Africa but has also grown in popularity in other parts of the world. I can’t remember how I stumbled upon the recipe, probably Instagram, but as I researched the origin history of the stew I thought it sounded like a great twist for a pheasant recipe. The stew usually contains peanut butter, hence the name “groundnut,” and is full of warming spices such as ginger and mace.
I spent about a week researching the different spices used, thought about what type of nut butter I wanted for a base, laid out the photographs I would take, and finally went to work one cold, January day actually making the stew.
The best part of creating any recipe is when you actually sit down at the table and take that first bite. I had taste tested the stew all day, and was really excited to share a bowl with my family. And then the phone rang.
My dad had harvested a cow elk and needed help getting it back to the truck. It was bitterly cold outside, dark, and the snow that year was deep. I put away the bowls and spoons, found my boots and gloves, and went to the truck. In a last-minute decision, I decided to pour some of the stew into a thermos and grabbed a few plastic spoons.
Two hours later, we reached my dad. I remember actually gasping out loud when I stepped out in the sub-zero night air and the light breeze hit my face. It was cold. He already had the elk quartered, so I grabbed a hind quarter, threw it over my shoulder, and headed back down the snowy slope to the truck. Usually, hauling animals builds so much heat that I take my coat off, but packing out animals on January nights is a much different story. I could feel my feet and hands getting colder as I walked.
When the cow elk was loaded into the truck bed, I let out a big sigh, stretched my arms above my head to create a little relief for my back, and looked upward. The night sky, full of stars, was amazing: Standing out there in the pitch-black night, no sounds or lights around, and just looking up was breathtaking.
I suddenly remembered the thermos of hopefully still-warm pheasant groundnut stew in the truck. We opened the lid, inhaled the aromas of almond butter, coriander, and ginger, and started eating. We stood in the cold snow, under that beautiful sky, eating pheasant groundnut stew from a thermos, and I thought, “Now that is a good bowl of soup.”
Pheasant Groundnut Stew
2 lbs pheasant, still on the bone
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 tablespoon coriander
1 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne, plus more as desired
2 tablespoons tomato paste
15 oz can roasted crushed tomatoes
1 quart stock of choice, chicken, vegetable, water, wild game, etc.
1/2 cup creamy almond butter
12 oz bag frozen okra
- Heat heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle in oil.
- Pat the pheasant dry and separate into four quarters. Season with salt and pepper.
- Brown the pheasant in small batches in the preheated oil, about three to four minutes per side. Set pheasant aside. Leave drippings in pot.
- Reduce heat to medium and add diced onions to pot. Cook for three to four minutes.
- Add chopped garlic and cook until aromatic, about two minutes.
- Stir in tomato paste, coriander, mace, ginger, and cayenne.
- Add the can of tomatoes and stock to the pot. Bring to a rolling boil then reduce to a simmer.
- Add the pheasant back to the pot, cover, and simmer for 90 minutes. Check pheasant at 90 minutes. If not falling off the bone, cook until meat is tender.
- Pull pheasant from pot and shred.
- Stir in the shredded pheasant, almond butter, and okra. Cover and cook ten minutes.
- Serve over rice if desired and enjoy!!!!
Lindsey Bartosh, an eighth-generation Moab girl, loves hiking, hunting, fishing, cooking, writing, photography and working on her website www.huntingandcooking.com.