I have a confession, don’t take it personal (in the voice of D’bang) – I seldom cook stew. I could go 3-4 months without cooking a pot of Nigerian stew. My husband and I are really into small batch sauces, there was never a need to have stew in the house. We would usually make fresh sauce for pasta or rice as needed. Fast forward to late 2014, with a little baby in the house; we didn’t have time for the shenanigans we were accustomed to. I am now a proud member of the “always have stew in the fridge” club.
I prepare my stew in a very unconventional way. I am not about that pepper boiling life. it’s honestly too much cleanup work as the sauce has a tendency to spatter all over the place as it boils.
So how does she do it you ask- OVEN ROASTED peppers and tomatoes. Yes, you read it here FIRST and it’s going to change the way you prepare stew. I have been cooking my stew this way for years but I just never thought to share the secret (Big Grin).
Simply cut up peppers, tomatoes, onions etc needed for the stew, roast in the oven for about 45 minutes (I usually roast along with meat). Puree in a blender and you get PERFECT thick paste that doesn’t have to be reduced / parboiled . You can also achieve this thick paste without boiling and without an oven but the taste and aroma just isn’t the same.
Here is a complete recipe on the soon to be famous “9jaFoodie Style Nigerian Stew”
The Sauce : Ingredients
4-6 Large Tomatoes
4 Red Bell Peppers (Tatashe)
2 Green Bell Peppers
1 Large Onion
1-4 Scotch Bonnet peppers (Ata-rodo)
The Sauce : Direction
Chop all ingredients into large chunks, roast at 400F for 45-60 Minutes.
Puree to a paste in a blender (no need to add water)
No Oven method:
Recipe Modification for those without an Oven:
Prepare the same ingredients as listed above
Place the sauce ingredients in a pot and add in 1 cup of water
Place on Low-Medium heat and boil for 10 – 15 minutes
Pour boiled peppers into a strainer to remove any excess water. Puree to a smooth paste
The resulting base will be thick and will require no further boiling. Enjoy!!
Roasting time will vary depending on oven type, roast until pepper are shrunken and look as pictured.
Depending on the water content of the produce, you might have to remove some water from the pan as you roast the peppers
I use a combination of red and green peppers because green peppers are cheaper where I live and has zero effect on the color of the stew. Feel free to use red peppers only
You can toss the ingredients in some spices before roasting, this will enhance the flavor profile and the paste can also be used as pasta sauce without further cooking
I usually broil my peppers a little just to char them for a more smoky flavor
Store unused paste in the fridge or freezer. I often make a very large batch to use over time
To make a big batch of paste, use a roasting pan not a try. Remember to give the veggies a couple of stirs while roasting.
The Stew: Ingredients
3 cups sauce
10 – 15 pieces boiled and roasted protein of choice (beef, shaki, ponmo, goat etc)
1 cup meat stock
Maggi and salt to taste
Curry and Thyme to taste
1/3 cup of Oil
The Stew- Direction
Place a large pot on medium heat and add in meat stock. Add in sauce and 1-2 cups of water. Simmer until it starts to boil
Add in protein. Combine. Taste and adjust for salt and maggi. Cover and leave to simmer for about 10 minutes
Add in oil , curry and thyme. Simmer for about 10 more minutes or just until oil floats to the top. Your stew is ready to serve
The sauce is already cooked to perfection, there is no need to cook the stew for hours unending
I prefer roasted meat in my stew. You may use fried meat if you prefer. I find Salt, maggi, onion and a little pepper is all the seasoning you need for boiling meat.
Curry, thyme and other seasonings should be added in at the last stage of cooking, otherwise the flavors will get lost in the mix
I often do not add oil to my stew, there is loads of naturally occurring oil in meat. If you must use oil, add it in at the end, that way you add oil to enhance the stew
If you prefer fried stew. Start with 1 cup of oil and only add 1/2 extra cup of water to the stew. everything else should be the same
This recipe can be modified for fish stew or chicken stew. Simply substitute your choice of protein