Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Stew for the New Year

There's a special kind of delight in fixing a dish that surprises people. I don't think I have a signature dish, per se, but one of my favorite dishes to fix is my version of peanut stew. Such a seemingly humble offering - a big bowl of vegetables wrapped in a thick, hearty, slightly spicy sauce. Placing the stew pot on the table, the initial reaction is subtle - "smells good," someone might offer. Pass the plates, heap a generous helping atop a pile of rice or quinoa, perhaps, and wait for the first few bites... Yes, this really is one of the BEST Things I've ever tasted. (and oh my goodness, SO good for you!)

Peanut Stew

2 leeks, green parts only, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
2 T Peanut oil
1/2 cup roasted peanuts
1 large sweet potatoes, cooked (in the microwave is the easiest and fastest)
1/2 small cabbage, shredded
1 small eggplant or ½ large eggplant, cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (and more to taste!)
1 tsp grated fresh ginger or ½ tsp ground ginger
1 rounded T fresh cilantro, chopped, or 1 tsp dried cilantro
1/2 cup tomato puree
1/2 cup apple juice or applesauce
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 cup vegetable broth
4 very generously rounded T peanut butter
salt to taste

~ Place the eggplant chunks in a bowl of salty salt water and allow them to soak for about 20 minutes, with a plate or bowl sitting on top to press the eggplant down into the water.

~ In a stockpot, sauté the leeks and garlic in the olive oil over medium heat until soft.

~ Add the peanuts, sweet potato, cabbage, and eggplant, then cover and steam for about 5 minutes.

~ Add the cayenne, ginger, cilantro, apple juice, tomato puree, and tomatoes to the pot, and boil or simmer (depending on how quickly you want your stew to be done) until the eggplant is soft and cooked through.

~ Stir in the peanut butter, then add salt and more cayenne to taste. Heat through, then serve either solo or over rice, quinoa, or whatever strikes your fancy!


Cookiemouse said...

Sounds really tasty.

VeggieGirl said...

ooooh peanut stew - sounds like a wonderful meal for the new year!

Greg said...

Peanuts! Yum. I do add peanut butter to many of my curries and stews. What a great taste and texture.

Astra Libris said...

Thank you, CookieMouse!

Thanks to you too, VeggieGirl... I was thinking of you when I wrote this post, since it's definitely a vegan recipe! :-)

Greg, I totally agree - peanut butter does wonders for texture... I love that it's a great source of protein and relatively low in saturated fat while still tasting incredibly rich!

Jackie said...

What an interesting stew, I must try it.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said...

Aww, thanks for the nice comments on my blog... I'm glad you led me to YOUR great blog :o).

Definitely, it'd be great if you added me to your bloglist (I'll add you to mine to, when I get around to making one!).

And that stew sounds great; I looove peanut butter (*almost* as much as chocolate).

You have a great outlook on food. I often have to remind myself that indulgences should NOT make me feel guilty, as life is meant to be enjoyed, and the people who ALWAYS stick to a rigidly healthy diet might live a few years longer, but are they really living?

Astra Libris said...

Thank you, Jackie, and thank you for coming to visit!

ChocolateCoveredVegan, your comments are so kind and much appreciated! I agree - it's challenging, but so important to live with joyous abandon... and food is a wonderful part of that joy! It's especially wonderful when joyous deliciousness and healthfullness coincide, isn't it? :-) (thinking of some yummy vegan desserts, for example... :-)
And no wonder peanut butter and chocolate are such a great combo, right? If they're good alone... all the better together! :-) Mmm... peanut butter and chocolate... you have me dreaming now... :-)

Deborah said...

This sounds so delicious! I have been addicted to sweet potatoes lately, so it grabbed my attention right away!