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!)
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!