Almond Butter Chicken Stew with Pineapple-Mint Relish is a paleo and Whole30 compliant meal!
I’ve been making variations of this lovely stew for literally years now. Sometimes I’ll add pineapple right into the stew, and sometimes I’ll sprinkle on a little Vanilla-Scented Toasted Coconut-Cashew Mix on top. Occasionally I’ll skip the greens (but I admit, I much prefer this with greens added!), and if I’m feeling adventurous I’ll use mustard greens, collard greens, or chard instead of kale. No matter what unique twist you put on it, you can’t go wrong with this meal.
The inspiration for this dish comes from several sources, first and foremost is West African Groundnut Stew, which traditionally uses peanuts. I replace peanut with almond (in the form of butter) to make it a delicious paleo meal. Sweet potatoes or yams are a classic addition, but I generally leave them out for no reason in particular…of course you can add them though! (To keep this stew quick-cooking, you can dice the sweet potato or yam and par-boil it until fork-tender before adding to the stew.)
This stew is actually pretty popular in the paleo world. Melissa Joulwan has a fantastic version of this stew in Well Fed 2 that uses sunflower seed butter and vanilla extract – yum (see the recipe Notes for more on that)! Becky Winkler adds thyme to her delicious recipe in Paleo Planet, which I’d love to try. The Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York has a fabulous version of this stew, and on their website they say they garnish it with pineapple when they serve it at their restaurant (and I think that’s where I originally got the idea of adding pineapple to the stew or using it as a garnish).
A lot of variations of this recipe don’t add greens, but like I said, I think they’re an integral part of this dish (and why not bump up the nutrition, right?). I honestly can’t remember where I first got the inspiration to add greens to this stew, but recipes for African-inspired peanut butter or almond butter stews with greens are abundant; like on New York Times Cooking, Food52, Cookie + Kate, and Princess Tafadzwa.
You can’t go wrong with a creamy almond butter-based stew that’s chock full of chicken and vegetables! If you’re doing the Whole30, this one is perfect for switching things up a little.
- 2 tablespoons clarified butter, coconut oil, or avocado oil
- 1 lb (450 g) boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into large pieces
- 2 medium-large bell peppers (any colors), de-seeded and chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 lb (450 g) kale, de-stemmed and chopped
- 4 large cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon fresh-grated ginger
- 2 cups (475 ml) low-sodium chicken stock (I used Swanson)
- ¾ cup unsweetened almond butter
- 1 (14.5 oz/411 g) can diced tomatoes, with juices
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
- 1½ cups chopped fresh pineapple
- ½ small/medium onion, diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
- ½ teaspoon organic raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- 1 pinch salt
- For the stew, heat the clarified butter in a 5-quart pot over medium-high to high heat. Add the chicken in an even layer in the bottom and cook until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Turn the heat down to medium and to the same pot, add the bell peppers, onion, and kale. Cover the pot and cook 3 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly.
- Stir the stock and almond butter together until smooth and then add the mixture along with the browned chicken (and their juices), diced tomatoes, salt, coriander, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to the stew. Bring to a boil, and then cover the pot, turn the heat down to simmer, and cook until the veggies are tender and the chicken is fully cooked (not pink in the center), about 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While the stew cooks, make the relish. To do so, stir together all ingredients and refrigerate until serving.
- Serve the stew along with the relish to spoon on top.
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