Somehow, it’s November. Where did October go? It flew by in a whirl of work and rest, weekend visitors and grad school applications, Community binge-ing, Halloween party hosting, and reading Crime and Punishment on the train. Did I drink enough apple cider? Did I eat enough pumpkin donuts? Did I spend enough time admiring those crisp and golden October afternoons before winter comes and it starts getting dark at 2 PM? The change of season brings great joy, of course, but it can be incredible stress-inducing, too.
Thankfully, the ingredients needed for this stew will be available all winter long (other than a decline in the quality of tomatoes, but don’t be shy about using canned!). So if you, like me, feel like the best days of fall have already slipped through your fingers, never to be won back no matter how many Pumpkin Spice Lattes you drink, don’t fret! This stew will comfort you. This stew will nourish you. This stew will alleviate all your change-of-seasons worries with just one bite.
A quick shout-out is necessary to the greatest grocery store I’ve ever had the honor of shopping at. If you live in Brooklyn, or within a three-hour drive of Brooklyn, please visit Sahadi’s as soon as possible. This modestly-sized market is a wonderland of goods: olives, nuts and dried fruit in bulk; a roomful of cheese; a deli counter stocked with hummus and tabbouleh and baba ghanoush so good it will make you weep; and — miracle of miracles — a machine that grinds peanuts into the purest, tastiest peanut butter imaginable. I used a generous helping of the stuff for this recipe, and I won’t tell you how many spoonfuls of plain peanut putter I ate while waiting for the stew to cook.
peanut & sweet potato stew
Adapted from Naturally Ella
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon curry
1 teaspoon cumin
3 carrots, peeled and diced
3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 large tomato, diced
4 cups veggie broth
2 tablespoons honey
1/2 – 3/4 cup peanut butter
6 cups spinach, roughly chopped
brown rice to serve (optional)
First and foremost, chop til you drop. I’m talkin’ about the onion, ginger, garlic, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Get all that work out of the way now, people, and the rest of your cooking experience will be so much more enjoyable.
Heat olive oil in a large soup pot. Add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for a couple minutes more. Stir in spices and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until spices are fragrant. (Note: Some recipes call for half a teaspoon or so of cayenne pepper if you like a little kick in your stew. If that’s the way you roll, go for it.)
Now add almost everything: carrots, sweet potatoes, tomato, broth, and honey. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Stir in peanut butter and let the stew cook for 15-20 minutes. (Warning! Your house will smell AMAZING.)
Once the potatoes and carrots are softened, stir in the spinach and let cook until just wilted — just a few minutes will do. Serve over brown rice or your favorite grain (quinoa, anyone?). If you’re feeling really fancy, toast up some peanuts and sprinkle those bad boys on top (I totally would have but I was out of peanuts).
I am sure that this stew will be one I return to again and again this autumn and winter. And for many autumns and winters to come, too. It’s flavorful and filling, particularly when served over rice or quinoa. Make a big pot of it on Sunday, and you’ve got lunch for the week. And if you substitute out the honey for, say, agave, this dish is vegan! As always, let me know if you give it a go. Happy November!