Sunday Dinner: Kitchen Sink Stew

20 Jan

It is still cold, clear and bright here in Seattle.  We haven’t had our regular gloomy, rainy days and I am not complaining. Such chilly weather (it’s been in the 30s!) makes stew seem even MORE appealing than usual.

I’ve been making variations on this stew for years now.  The combination of coconut milk, peanut flavor and many vegetables makes it both comforting and healthy.  I call it Kitchen Sink stew because it contains almost all but the kitchen sink!  I admit it changes a bit each time I make it, but it is hearty, tasty, and sure to use up all of the vegetables sitting around.  I throw in so many ingredients from so many regions of the world, but hey, that’s okay.  This is kitchen sink cooking!  Surely this stew is influenced by my years in West Africa, where spicy peanut sauces are common and delicious.  As for the combination of coconut milk, lime and Sri Racha I blame my love of Asian food and also the little things I’ve picked up (mainly from eating) from my Vietnamese husband’s amazing dishes.  As for the cinnamon, I love the use of this warming spice in savory dishes, surely influenced by my love of Mexican food (mole!).  So yeah, this isn’t any kind of traditional dish, but it is tasty, easy and I’ve found we usually have most of these ingredients sitting around the house.

This is the first time I’ve made it with the crock pot and I added in a few steps in doing so, I’m sure I made it more complicated than necessary but it was still pretty easy.  You can also make it in a dutch oven, although I’d still recommend heating up the coconut milk and peanut mixture on the side as I describe below (I do this because it makes the texture much smoother!).

Kitchen Sink Stew 


Hearty and flavorful. Perfect for a cold January night!


  • 4 cups of broth, chicken or vegetable.
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • Many many vegetables, sliced and diced into little pieces.  Today I used: 3 carrots, 1 large turnip, 1 sweet potato, 1 large onion, 2 stalks of celery.
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder (add more if you like it spicy)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon of cooking oil (peanut is the best for this dish, I believe)
  • 1 pound of chicken breasts, sliced into small pieces.
  • 1/2 can of coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup of peanut butter (more if you love it!)
  • 1 tablespoon SriRacha sauce (again, more if you want it spicy)
  • 2 limes


  1. In your trusty crock pot, put in the broth, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, vegetables, garlic, ginger.  
  2. Add in the remaining spices: cinnamon, chili powder, bay leaves, salt and pepper.  I recommend going easy on them and tasting the stew in a few hours and add in more if needed.  Once you add too much of something, it is hard to undo.  But it is easy to add!
  3. Let the stew simmer on high for about 2 hours.
  4. Prepare the chicken by sautéing it on the stovetop, in oil over medium high heat until it is no longer pink on the outside.  Add the chicken to the stew.
  5. In a saucepan, heat the coconut milk on medium heat until it begins to bubble.  Turn the heat down and add in the peanut butter.  Stir continuously until it is combined.  Add in the Sri Racha.  Then place the sauce into the crock pot.
  6. Turn the heat on the crock pot to low. Cook for 1-2 more hours.
  7. Check the stew periodically and taste it, add in more spices if you feel it needs it.
  8. Once it is almost time to serve, add in the juice of one lime.  Slice the other lime and serve lime wedges on the side.

Serve alone, over rice or with a nice hunk of tasty bread.  This is great to eat as leftovers and also to freeze and then break out on some cold night when you don’t want to cook! Oh and make sure you don’t eat the bay leaves.


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