Friday, March 31, 2017

Slow Cooker Spicy African Sweet Potato Stew

This is a West African recipe adapted from the wonderful book by Jill Nussinow, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes.  Whereas the book used the pressure cooker to prepare this spicy African stew, I resorted instead to my slow cooker to cook it. As the author in the book contends, using the slow cooker entails that you have already thought of the dish you want to prepare the night before because of the length of time needed to cook the dish whereas the pressure cooking method does not.  You can come home and prepare the dish in thirty minutes if you use the latter. That is true.  However, I am a morning person and I usually have thought or dreamed of or craved the dish I want days before.  At the end of the day, I usually find myself dog tired even when I am retired now to do any cooking.  I like to dump everything in my slow cooker in the morning and go do a ton of errands and volunteer work etc during the day.  

My slow cooker is an Aroma brand rice cooker/slow cooker that can slow cook in two hours and automatically switches to the keep warm mode.  I find this fast and convenient and have since been using it the past few years to prepare dishes even in the middle of the day which I would have at the end of a busy day.  

I also, if you were following me, will do short cuts to recipes I adapt and skip steps I can get away with and had done so successfully in the past.  I did not saute the onions and garlic plus the spices as the original recipe called for. This of course would make some difference but the result with regards to this dish is good without doing so but you can if you prefer.  

The combination of cayenne and peanut butter is exciting to the palate and holds the key to the flavor of the dish. The largely cut sweet potatoes which remained intact and not mushy in the slow cooking process in combination with the other vegetables also help enhance the flavor of the dish. The mixture of vegetables also makes this a hearty dish that sticks in your stomach like any of those meat stews. The spices and herbs help trick your mouth that you are relishing a decadent dish. After eating this, I could taste the subtle note of the apple in my mouth. This stew surprised me on how good it is

I am grateful to Linda of the East Suburban Plant Based group headed by Dr. Sally Lipsky for sharing the original recipe with us. I am not surprised she did because this is a good hearty stew not to mention a healthy also.  I served this with rice but the book suggests eating it with millet which I did not have on hand.  

Slow Cooker African Sweet Potato Stew

Adapted from the book, The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes, Jill Nussinow

  • 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cup tomato puree from a can
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 inch ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter, chunky or creamy, I used creamy
  • 2 medium to large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1/2 head of a cabbage, cored and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups finely chopped greens, (kale or spinach or chard or even leaf lettuce which I used)
Combine the first eight ingredients in the slow cooker bowl and stir to blend.  Add the rest of the ingredients or you can add the leaf lettuce or any leafy vegetable you are using at the last minutes of cooking. Slow cook for 3 hours at high setting or 6 hours at low.  I cooked mine in an Aroma Brand rice cooker/slow cooker for 2 hours at slow cooker setting. Serve with rice or millet as suggested by the author of the book.

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