Proving that there is life outside of pumpkin spice (blasphemy!), an abundance of local eateries are serving up comfort food par excellence: a steaming bowl of stew. These hearty delights are international, with each recipe more diverse than the last. Lucky for us, we can sample these hot ethnic flavors right here at home.
African Peanut Stew
While some stews are the result of a messy experiment with spices, meats, and other ingredients, Chef Abdel Dimiati’s African Peanut Stew is a testament to tried-and-true methods. He starts off with a quick sauté of the stew’s vegetable ingredients—sweet potatoes, onions, and bell peppers—before tossing in colorful dashes of cayenne, black, and white peppers to punch up the flavor. Other ingredients like ginger and tomato broth help cut down the heat, and last but not least, the stew’s namesake legumes (in both crushed and butter form) are added to the simmering pot.
Kickers Restaurant, 301 Maxwell Ave, Greenwood.
(864) 943-4300, kickersrestaurant.com
If a thick, Southern-style helping of meat and veggies is the stuff of your dreams, look no further than this smokehouse favorite. The recipe for Brunswick stew often varies with location and generation, but this version by Henry’s Smokehouse tastes like something Grandma cooked up on the rare snow day. Thickets of chicken and pork balance well with vegetables like corn, lima beans, potatoes, carrots, and other spices. Like Henry’s famous pork, the Brunswick is made in-house daily, so you’re guaranteed to get the freshest taste, whether you have one bowl or three.
Henry’s Smokehouse, 240 Wade Hampton Blvd, Greenville.
(864) 232-7774, henryssmokehouse.com
Robust is the name of the game for this Persian delicacy. At the intersection where sweet meets sour, the stew brings together the flavor of crushed walnuts with pomegranate syrup for a savory sauce simmered with chicken breast. The result is a tangy and satisfying dish, sure to ward off autumn’s chills while still pleasing your taste buds. Fesenjan also comes in a vegetarian version for the herbivores out there, with portobello mushrooms stepping in as a strong substitute for the missing poultry. Both versions are served with piping-hot basmati rice.
Pomegranate on Main, 618 S Main St, Greenville.
Dinner only. (864) 241-3012, pomegranateonmain.com
The name of this stew may sound like a creature from the Harry Potter series, but one taste will have you convinced there really is something enchanted here. Though the hearty dish was originally perfected in the small town of Ghent, Belgium, it now takes up residence in the Trappe Door’s cozy underground atmosphere. Following tradition, the hearty stew is loaded with seafood and vegetables. Served with a crunchy slab of bread for sopping up any bottom-of-the-bowl leftovers, the waterzooi pairs beautifully with any of the restaurant’s seasonal draft beers.
The Trappe Door, 23 W Washington St, Greenville.
Dinner only. (864) 451-7490, trappedoor.com