North Winneshiek School sixth grade students picked vegetables from the school garden to cook an African-style one-pot meal. Adding our onions, tomatoes, peppers and kale to purchased foods, they made sweet potato, peanut butter and lentil stew to finish a multidisciplinary unit on Africa.
The sixth graders then conducted a taste test among fourth through eighth grade students. A majority said they enjoyed the sample and would like to have the sweet potato stew on the school lunch menu.
The school cooks made a similar stew and served it Oct. 3. Sixth grade Cafeteria Coaches visited with K-2 students at their lunch tables to encourage them to sample the unusual stew. They told the younger students about the ingredients and what they have learned about Africa.
North Winn African Stew
Makes 8 half-cup servings
½ cup lentils, any color—Lentils, an important protein source, were first cultivated in North Africa.
2 medium-size sweet potatoes—They were first cultivated in West and South Africa.
1 small onion, chopped
1 cup chopped kale, packed (may use frozen spinach; add near end of cooking)—Similar greens were first cultivated in North Africa.
Stir together in large crockpot with 2 cups water—Almost half the people who live in Sub-Saharan Africa do not have regular access to safe drinking water.
Add spices—Spices have been imported into Africa from Asia for thousands of years.
1 tsp. ginger, grated or powdered
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
Pinch ground hot red pepper, such as cayenne
½ tsp. salt—Salt is produced in most African countries.
½ cup peanut butter—The peanut we know is similar to the African ground nut, first cultivated in West, Central and South Africa.
Heat ½ cup water. Stir into peanut butter to make a smooth paste. Add to crock pot.
Cook on HIGH for one to two hours, or on LOW for 4 hours, or until vegetables and lentils are tender.
Serve with rice—Rice has been cultivated in West Africa for more than 2,000 years.