December 3, 2011

West African Vegetable Stew

It's getting colder and we're spending more time inside.  The electric company is threatening to raise the bill 16% so I'm trying to be a little more aware of our usage.  Keeping the thermostat down, I'm wearing a sweatshirt vest in the house and when I want to get warm, a little romp on the elliptical device turns the heat up.  Our granddaughter was working that thing hard and I asked what she was doing.  She told me she was turning the heater on.  Apparently grandpa told her that's how we turn the heater on.  I just smiled and asked her if she could fee the heat coming on.  That's how we do it.

Another way to warm the insides is with a good, warm pot of vegetable stew simmering on the stove-top.  I noticed some yams on the table and remembered a recipe I had for African Vegetable Stew.  It's a very easy meal that only takes about 45 minutes from start to finish, 15 minutes prep time and about 30 minutes cook time, if you use canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans).  I cooked some up the night before.

West African Vegetable Stew

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced (about 2 cups)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), peeled and cut in half lengthwise and sliced
1 large tomato, coarsely chopped (1½ cups)
10 oz vegetable stock
½ cup water
½ teaspoon each of: ground cinnamon and crushed red pepper
½ cup raisins
4 cups coarsely chopped fresh spinach leaves
1 can (about 15 ounces) chickpeas (garbanzo beans_, rinsed and drained
Hot cooked rice, quinoa,  or couscous (optional)

1.  Heat the oil in a 4-quart saucepan over medium  heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook until the onions are tender.

2.  Add the potatoes and tomato.  cook and stir for 5 minutes.

3.  Stir the broth, water, cinnamon, red pepper and raisins into the saucepan.  Heat to a boil.  Reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.

4.  Stir in the spinach and chickpeas.  Cook until hot.  Serve over rice, quinoa, or couscous, if desired.

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