Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Flavorful Stew and Changed Minds

I used to hate sweet potatoes.

No, hate isn't quite the right word.
I despised them.  Loathed them.
No candied yams at Thanksgiving, no sweet potato fries- none of that for me, thank you.
I was resolute in my stance that they were one of the world's most disgusting vegetables.

Then I found myself the mother of a picky eater.

My son is incredibly limited in the foods that he will eat, and, while I will spare you the details, trying to convince him to branch out was a traumatizing experience for all involved.
Yay for sensory issues!

Anyway, it became evident early on that if I was going to get that child to eat anything with any redeeming nutritional value at all I was going to have to sneak it into him- a task that is far easier said than done.

One of my most successful clandestine attempts?
Sweet potato puree in a grilled cheese sandwich.
I don't know how, but somehow he never noticed the extra ingredient.

I don't think that I'm alone in the parenting world when I say that I occasionally grab a nibble off of my child's plate, and I was more than a little surprised to find that the combination of sweet potato and cheddar is phenomenal.
Seriously.  It's incredible.

It was that sandwich that opened my eyes to how amazing sweet potatoes can be, especially in savory preparations.  Since then I have snuck them into his pizza crust, roasted them with beets (one of my favorites!), and turned them into waffles (ok, I'll admit that leans toward the sweet side of the spectrum...but I did balance it with a tart cranberry maple syrup!).

The other day I found a recipe for a Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew and I knew that I had to try it.  I love those north African flavors and they work so well in this preparation.  Granted, I wasn't brave enough to use the raisins it originally called for but still- it was absolutely fabulous.

And honestly?  Even better the second day.  I just finished off the leftovers and I'm seriously considering making another batch tonight!

3 C peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
3 C chicken broth, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 C chopped onion
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 C chopped red bell pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 1/2 tsp curry powder
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
(1/2 cup raisins optional, I left them out)
2 Tbsp peanut butter

1. Place sweet potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl and add a splash of the broth. Cook in the microwave until slightly softened, 3 to 5 minutes.

2. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook and stir for 3 to 5 minutes. Add softened sweet potatoes, remaining broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, lemon juice, ginger, cumin, curry powder, coriander, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and cover pot. Simmer soup until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.

3. Stir peanut butter (and raisins if using) into soup and simmer 5 minutes more. Adjust spices if necessary.

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