A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

You could say this is the meal that got Cooking Habit started, although we never posted it here. It was the first recipe I discovered and told you about, Mom, instead of the other way around...which is when we started to form the give-and-take that led to this site (though I still get most of my cooking ideas and knowledge from you).

The site is coming up on its one-year anniversary in five days, so this is appropriate.

I found the recipe in the 2000 Joy of Cooking. It looked tasty, except that it called for ground turkey or beef, and zucchini, both of which I omitted. It turned out to be delicious -- highly addictive, very warming, very filling. And here's where this story became part of family lore: I told you to try making it, but I forgot to mention what I'd left out. You came up with the exact same modifications, and you loved it, and then Russell made it and he loved it, and it became a family standard. I believe even Isaac, who might as well be a family member, identified the correct modifications independently of us.

It's basically a thick, rich stew made with garlic, ginger, assorted bell peppers and hot chiles, sweet potatoes, and peanut butter. I always serve it over couscous. It's the most satisfying completely vegan meal I've ever had.

I forgot to take a picture of it when I made it this week, so instead here is an old picture of the first table I ever ate it at, in one of my old apartments.

Here's the recipe with my/our modifications:

Saute in 1/4 cup oil until translucent:
-1-2 onions, chopped
-1-2 bell peppers, any color (I prefer red)
-1-2 fresh chiles, minced

Add and saute for a minute or two:
-4 cloves garlic
-1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced

Add and saute for one minute:
-1 tablespoon chili powder
-1 teaspoon cumin, ground or whole
-1 teaspoon whole or crushed dried red pepper -- scale up or down depending on heat of other chiles used

-2 large or 3 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks
-1/3 cup tomato paste

Cover with water and simmer for 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, until sweet potatoes are sweet and soft. Stir 1 cup of the broth into a bowl with:
-1/2 to 3/4 cup peanut butter

Then stir the mixture into the large pot. Salt to taste. Serve over couscous.

I've actually tried it once with some ground beef, and I didn't like it at all. Let it remain vegan, zucchiniless, and perfect.


Kris said...

You still get most of your cooking ideas from me? I seem to be learning from you now.

I loved that apartment--great picture.

I think I'll become a vegan who makes exceptions for pork and cheese. I'm ready to give up beef, poultry, and leather, but not pork.

Ann said...

So enjoying these posts and the commentary back and forth between you. I found you via MetaFilter (I'm a lurker there).

Eva said...

Thanks, Ann! We have fun doing it. I'll go have a look at your site.

Kris said...

I made a version of this tonight. Any recipe that starts with a jalapeno, then adds a tablespoon of chile powder, then advises red pepper flakes to taste is bound to be fine with me.

This time I added a yellow squash to this stew. I only had one sweet potato, and the squash seemed to balance the meal. I served it with a sort of couscous pilaf. I'll post that recipe.