African Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew


My daughter, Sarah, author of the vegan food blog, The Sweet Life, gave Mark and me a box of recipes when we first started eating lower on the food chain.  She introduced us to lots of great food–and the realization that vegetables could be incredibly tasty and filling.   Sarah included this recipe from one of her favorite vegan cookbooks,  Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson.  So if you like this hearty stew, check out Robertson’s book for more. This recipe serves 4-5. I have adapted it slightly.

The night before rinse and soak 1 c. dry kidney beans (I use Jacob’s Cattle beans–a comparable bean).  In the morning drain, add fresh water, bring to a boil and simmer for 30-45 minutes until beans are soft, but not mushy.  (Or use the quick soak in the morning: bring beans to a boil, turn off the heat and let soak for 2 hours.  Rinse, and then simmer in fresh water for 30-45 minutes.)  You can also substitute canned kidney beans.

Prepare the following vegetables:
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 medium green, yellow, or red pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes peeled and diced into 1/2 inch pieces

In a large soup kettle heat 2 Tbsp. canola oil.  Add onions, cover and cook 5 minutes.  Add bell peppers and garlic and cover and cook another 5 minutes.

Meanwhile combine the following spices in a small bowl:spices
2 tsp. brown sugar
1 tsp. peeled and grated ginger
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne

Add spices to sauteed vegetables and stir constantly for 30 seconds.
Add diced sweet potatoes, 2 c. of crushed tomatoes (or 1 14.5 oz can), 1 1/2 c. vegetable stock or water, and salt to taste.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes.  Stir in drained and rinsed beans and simmer another 5-10 minutes.

Place 2 Tbsp. peanut butter in a small bowl and add about 1/2 c of broth, stirring until smooth.  Stir back into soup.
If a thicker consistency is desired, puree 1 c. of stew in a food processor and then add back to stew, or use an emersion wand for 15 seconds.

Serve over rice or couscous and sprinkle with dry roasted peanuts.

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