in the season of all things carnivorous, sometimes all you want for dinner is a big bowl of veggies
The Holiday season places a great emphasis on all things meat. From turkeys, to hams, to roasts that'll feed an army, November and December are rich with the offerings of your local butcher. More often than not, by the time January rolls around, many of us find ourselves suffering a hangover only a so-called 'meat coma' could induce. And though the proteins of the season surround themselves with a whole host of vegetable-based side dishes, they're inevitably dotted and laced with everything from smokey bacon to savory sausage. So, if you're seeking respite from the carnivorous staples of the Holiday table, it's not necessarily found in their plant-based accoutrements. (Seriously, bacon has become the 'salt, pepper and olive oil' of the Holiday season, and though I'm totally behind it, I can literally hear my arteries whispering 'help!' as they realize that the passing of Thanksgiving only gives way to the lead up to Christmas!)
Though the joys of November's turkey, December's ham, and the like, are annually anticipated with great fervor by those who cut their teeth omnivorously, even the most enthusiastic beast of prey could use a satisfying main course made entirely of vegetables, from time to time.
Thankfully, great comfort can be found in the hearty offerings of a stew rich with spice, toothsome produce and buttery peanuts. A stew this packed full of flavor and texture, will have even those staunchly tied to the idea that a meal is not a meal without a meat, a starch and a veg, feeling utterly satiated.
So this Holiday season, make room in your routine for a big pot of sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips, spiced with mellow curry and made silken and smooth by a generous spoonful of earthy, creamy peanut butter. You won't feel cheated, I promise.
For garish: I like it with chopped, roasted peanuts. chopped cilantro and chimichurri sauce.
Add the coconut oil to a large pot set over medium heat. Add the curry powder and onion to the oil and sauté until the onions are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, cilantro stems and ginger, and sauté for a further minute.
Add the sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips to the pot and stir to coat them with oil, about 1 minute. Then, add the vegetable stock, tomatoes. coconut milk and pepper flakes. If the vegetables are covered with 2 cups of stock, then that's plenty. If not, add the remaining cup.
Cook the stew for about 25 minutes until the vegetables are cooked through and soft, and the sauce has thickened.
Stir in the peanut butter, and cook for a further 5 minutes. Season the stew to taste, with salt and pepper.
I like this baby served up over brown rice with some steamed or sautéed cauliflower on the side, just for good measure. It's rich enough to make you feel like you're indulging, without as much as a slab of bacon in sight. Shocking, I know!