And that moment when you realize you already knew something, but just hadn’t inhabited it yet? That was me researching recipes for Guinea-Bissau. I had a solid click of knowledge, as in “hey, I eat West African food all of the time”. If you’ve lived in the American South, or just enjoy Southern food…you do too. Which totally makes sense, right? Also, I’m just 13 countries into this blog, and already on my third Portuguese colony (Macau and Angola being the first two.) So, there’s another layer of familiarity; I’m seeing threads of commonality that I probably wouldn’t have noticed before.
I thought I would get smarter from the books, but it’s really the food that’s showing me the way…We’re all connected. We really are.
Anyway…gettin’ all deep on you…here’s the recipe:
Guinean Peanut Sauce with Butternut Squash
adapted from a recipe at http://allrecipes.com/recipe/guinean-peanut-sauce-with-butternut-squash/
- 1 butternut squash (peeled seeded and cut into 2 inch cubes)
- 12 cup natural peanut butter
- 1 tomato (chopped)
- 1 cup warm water (reserved from cooking the squash)
- 2 tbsps coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion (thickly sliced lengthwise)
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- black pepper and salt to taste
- 2 tsps lemon juice
- Place the butternut squash in a saucepan with water to cover. Bring to a boil and then simmer, covered, until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the cooking liquid.
- Combine the peanut butter, tomato, and a cup of the reserved cooking liquid (or just warm water). (The original recipe mentions that the traditional way to combine the ingredients is to squish everything together by hand, but I used my food processor. A blender would be just fine too.)
- Heat the coconut oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 2 minutes.
- Add the peanut butter mixture, the minced garlic, the bay leaf, black pepper, and about 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to combine, then bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer the peanut sauce, adding the reserved cooking liquid as needed, for 15 minutes. The consistency should be similar to a thick soup.
- Stir in the butternut squash and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Add the lemon juice, and adjust the seasoning as desired.
Serve with hot, medium-grained rice. Next time, I’ll add some chopped, fresh cilantro and a good hot sauce on the side as well.
NOTE: I way over-cooked the squash. I eat a lot of sweet potatoes, and since butternut squash is orange and of a similar texture while raw, my simple brain was quick to treat it the same. Don’t do that. My dining companions were very kind and said all was well…but it could have been better. Stick to the 20 minute cooking time and you should be just fine.
Speaking of sweet potatoes, the peanut sauce would work great with them. It would be good with just about any veggie. Or chicken or beef, if you are in a meaty kind of mood.
(disclaimer: I KNOW. I KNOW. It’s getting to be the same shot, in the same cast-iron post. Every. Single. Time.
Must work on taking better photos)