Maafé (or Mafé) is a traditional stew, soup or sauce (depending on the amount of liquid used) originally from Mali and eaten throughout West Africa. Usually made with meat, we have created a vegetarian version filled with sweet potatoes and mushrooms, tomatoes, bell pepper, and onions to provide great texture and flavor. A balanced and adjustable level of heat comes from the addition of habanero and red pepper flakes. Traditionally made with hand ground peanuts, we simplified by using prepared natural peanut butter.
- 2 tbsp. peanut or coconut oil, divided
- 2 large sweet potatoes, cut into a large dice
- 1 large onion, half cut into a small dice, half cut into a large dice
- 1 red bell pepper, half cut into a small dice, half cut into a large dice
- 1 tsp. salt
- 8 oz. portabella mushrooms, cut into bite sized pieces
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
- 2-inch piece of fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1/4 to 1 whole habanero pepper (depending upon your heat preference), finely minced
- 1 tbsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 6 c. vegetable stock – 2 more cups if you want a thinner soup
- 3/4 c. peanut butter (use a natural peanut butter with no sweetener added)
- 1/2 c. chopped cilantro
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a baking sheet with 1/2 of the oil. Place cubed sweet potato, large-diced onion, and large-diced pepper, on the baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and roast until mostly tender – but with some firmness remaining. Stir once while cooking. Set aside when done.
- In a large pot, over medium heat, add remaining oil. When oil is shimmering, add small-dice onions and small-dice red peppers. Sauté until onions are translucent.
- Add mushrooms to the pot and cook. Mushrooms will release their liquids. Cook until those liquids have mostly evaporated and mushrooms are nicely browned.
- Add tomato paste, tomatoes, ginger, garlic, and habanero to the pot and cook one minute longer. Add paprika, black pepper, and red pepper flakes.
- Add vegetable broth and bring mixture to a boil.
- Reduce heat to a low simmer, scoop out a ladle of hot broth and pour over the peanut butter in a small bowl. Stir until peanut butter is dissolved and then add peanut butter and broth mixture back to the pot. Stir to incorporate peanut butter.
- Allow soup to simmer until reduced and thickened, anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour, peanut butter will have cooked into the stew, and you should see the oils from the peanut butter on the surface of the stew.
- Add roasted sweet potatoes, onions, and peppers. Continue to cook until potatoes are fork tender.
- Check for seasoning and consistency. Add more salt or pepper as needed. Add more stock if you want a thinner soup. Mash a few of the potatoes with a fork if you want the soup to be thicker.
- Ladle into bowl and top with a sprinkle of cilantro. Serve while warm.