Chicken, Shrimp, Peanut and Cashew Stew
Serves 6 to 8
1 whole chicken (3 to 4 pounds), cut into 8 pieces with the skin on
3 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
½ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, about 20 shrimp
4 tablespoons dende oil
½ cup unsalted peanuts, roasted
½ cup unsalted cashews, roasted
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped, about 1 cup
2 scallions (white and green parts), chopped, about ¼ cup
4 plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and diced, about 1 ½ cups
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 ½ cups coconut milk
1 ½ cups chicken stock
¼ teaspoon turmeric
1/8 teaspoon paprika
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro
Place the chicken pieces in a medium bowl and add the garlic and lime juice. Massage the chicken, making sure the juice is well distributed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the chicken to marinate at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
In another bowl, place the shrimp and 2 tablespoons of the dende oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate for 15 minutes at room temperature. (If you are making the dish ahead of time, save the shrimp and marinade).
Meanwhile, in the bowl of a food processor, grind the cashews and peanuts until they are finely ground, being careful that they do not release oil and become a paste like peanut butter. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Remove the chicken from the marinade and wipe off any remaining garlic. Lightly pat the chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper on both sides.
Pour 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan, and cook the chicken pieces over medium heat, until they are lightly browned, about 3 minutes on each side. Make sure you do not crowd the pan to prevent sticking. If necessary, do it in batches and as you remove the chicken pieces, place them on a plate and cover them with foil or a lid to keep them warm and moist. You don’t want to cook the chicken entirely while browning. It will finish cooking while braising in the sauce.
Add the remaining olive oil and cook the onion and scallions, stirring occasionally and scraping the brown bits off the bottom of the pan, until the onions are soft and tender, about 3 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and ground nuts and stir to blend well, about 1 minute.
Add the coconut milk, chicken stock, turmeric, and paprika, and let the sauce come to a simmer.
Lower the heat to its lowest setting, then add the chicken pieces and all the juices that have accumulated in the bowl. Cover and simmer until the chicken is cooked through; it should remain tender and moist, about 25 to 30 minutes. (Reserve the stew at this point if you want to serve it at a later date. Store it in a plastic container covered with a tight-fitting lid in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.)
Meanwhile, remove the shrimp from the bowl and pat them dry. Season with salt and pepper on both sides.
In a medium sized skillet, heat the remaining dende oil and cook the shrimp just until they start to turn orange, about 1 minute per side.
Pour the shrimp and any remaining dende oil from the pan, right into the chicken stew, cover, and cook so the shrimp has a chance to braise with the chicken, about 3 to 4 minutes. At this point the mixture should look orangy- red and the nuts will have thickened the stew but also made it slightly gritty. You want it to be just a little pasty from the nuts. If the stew is too thick, add another tablespoon or so of chicken stock.
Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Garnish with the cilantro.