Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

Now that fall is decidedly here (and winter too, it nearly seems), I can’t put off the urge to bake and make other autumn recipes. I regrettably haven’t had much time to cook within the past couple of months. I decided to take a class on nutrition, and while I’m enjoying learning (and will hopefully be able to apply it to my cooking, in some form or fashion), it sure takes up more time than I thought it would. Add to that a busy few months at work, a regular running schedule, friends’ weddings, concerts, and other fun things, and you can see why I haven’t cooked or written! I hope that I’ll have more time soon, since it’s getting too dark and cold to run in the evenings, and my race is this Sunday.

I made the time this evening to try a recipe I just found yesterday, and I’m glad I did. Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew sounded wholesome and warm, a nice contrast to the cool rainy weather we had today. This recipe is delicious, satisfying, and vegan. It came together easily, and was hands-off while it simmered, meaning I could do other things while it cooked. It was tasty enough that I put off my class reading for a change – I couldn’t wait to share this!

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew
Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

Sweet Potato and Peanut Stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 tsp minced garlic (2 cloves)
1 1/2 tsp minced or grated ginger
2 lbs sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup red lentils (although brown are okay, too)
1 can tomatoes
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp tumeric (I used this, but I think it’s fine if you don’t have it)
a dash cayenne pepper
black pepper, to taste
4 cups vegetable broth, or 4 cups water with 2-4 vegetable bouillon cubes
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
4 cups kale, in very small pieces (I used the small bunch that I had, which may have been more than 4 cups)
1/4 cup green onions, tops only, chopped
1/4 cup chopped peanuts (I used unsalted roasted)
salt, to taste

The stew was easy to put together. I heated the olive oil over medium heat and sauteed the onion for 3 minutes, then added the ginger and garlic and sauteed for another 3 minutes. I added the sweet potatoes, lentils (I used a mixture of red and brown), tomatoes, and spices, and then added the bouillon cubes and water. I brought the soup to a boil, then lowered the heat to medium low and simmered the stew, covered, about 40 minutes, until the sweet potatoes were tender. I stirred in the peanut butter and used an immersion blender to puree almost all the soup, trying to get the big chunks of sweet potato broken down. (If you don’t have a blender, you could use a potato masher to make it a chunky stew.) At this point, I tasted the stew to adjust the seasoning. I stirred in the kale and heated the stew a few more minutes to wilt the kale. I served the stew and topped it with the green onions and chopped peanuts. The recipe yielded 4 servings.

This was a delicious, hearty, warming stew. It was thick and creamy from the pureed sweet potatoes and lentils. It was nicely spiced but not spicy, although I could have added more cayenne if I’d wanted. It was a little sweet from the sugar in the peanut butter. All the flavors melded together. The green onions added a nice contrast to the stew, and the peanuts gave a nice crunch. The kale was a little chewy; be sure to get yours finely chopped, as it doesn’t shrink or wilt too much. As good as the stew was tonight, I have a feeling the leftovers will be even better. If you have vegetarian friends, please use them as an excuse to make this recipe (and if they have peanut allergies, try it with a different nut!). You won’t be sorry.

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