Today I bring you a classic vegetarian recipe that's been a staple in our kitchen for years. It comes from one of the all-time best vegetarian cookbooks out there: Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant.
This stew is truly exotic, despite the fact that it's made from a list of totally plain-jane ingredients from the store. It's also healthy, simple to make, and contains a full complement of vitamins, minerals and fiber (and even a healthy dose of protein, as you'll see below). With only 30 minutes of prep time, plus another 35-40 total minutes of cook time, you can feed 6-8 people (or more) easily.
As with most of the vegetarian soups I've featured in this blog, this recipe is laughably cheap. Correction: make that hysterically cheap. The entire pot of stew, which usually feeds the two of us for an entire week, costs about $10.00 to make. That means that on a per-serving basis, this dish is even cheaper than our Fried Rice.
Once again we have further proof that cooking at home simply crushes eating out in a restaurant, both from a health and an economic standpoint.
Somewhat modified from the Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant Cookbook
2 medium-to-large onions, sliced or coarsely chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves, either minced or pressed
3-4 cups coarsely chopped cabbage
2-3 medium to large sweet potatoes, cubed coarsely
3 cups tomato juice
1 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons fresh peeled and grated ginger root
1 Tablespoon fresh cilantro (optional, but don't forget to invigorate!)
2 tomatoes, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup peanut butter
Sauté the onions and the cayenne pepper in oil for about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for a couple more minutes. Add the cabbage and sweet potatoes and sauté, covered, for a few minutes.
Add the juices, ginger, cilantro and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. Be sure to stir the stew occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Add the peanut butter, stir thoroughly, simmer a few more minutes, and serve. If the stew gets too thick, feel free to add more tomato juice and/or apple juice.
Can be served over rice.
Finally, let's look at some photos of the making of this recipe. Hopefully this will help give you helpful visuals on how the dish is made.
Here's the entire complement of ingredients. Note once again the seemingly extraneous bottle of beer. Readers of this blog will know that this is a critical mood-elevating agent for the chef.
When I say the sweet potatoes should be coarsely cubed, I mean it. Don't create extra prep work for yourself.
The ginger must be fresh. Don't substitute dried/powdered ginger. We usually grate some....
...and then also mince some extra and throw it into the pot too. There's nothing like biting into a little suprise chunk of ginger while you're eating this stew!
The colors of this stew are stunning, and they change throughout the cooking of the dish. When you first add in the juices, you'll have a bright red-colored stew...
...but after it cooks for a bit and the sweet potatoes soften, and after you add the peanut butter in the final step....
...the stew will be a visually arresting bright orange color.
For those readers interested in seeing more of the making of this recipe, I've posted the full set of photos at flickr.