Monday, April 18, 2005

The Birthday Dinner Party: Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew

So today is the day after my birthday dinner party. I think it was a success for the most part, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and the food. I utterly enjoy cooking food for my friends, but when you do it on your birthday, the time just flies by and you don't get to savor the day.

It seems that no matter how many dinner parties I throw and no matter how prepared I am, there are still things I screw up on. I almost always make too much food. (I guess I'm afraid to run out.) For our Moroccan-themed menu, I made Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, and lamb stuffed pitas for appetizers and for the main course, we had Moroccan Braised Beef, a double recipe of an already large batch of Sweet Potato Stew, Couscous and a Mango Cucumber Salad. Who would have known that six sweet potatoes would produce so much stew? I had to get out my 12 quart stock pot just to fit it all. I have no idea what I was thinking. My co-workers were pleased however, when I brought a tub 0' stew to work for lunch today. At least it was a lot of a good thing. The vegetables swam in a rich broth that made me forget it was vegetarian. The Moroccan spices were well balanced with a slight heat and a bit of sweetness. It made a great lunch and was probably even better warmed up the next day. If you'd like to try making it, here's the recipe...

Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew

1 T. Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp. tumeric
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. curry powder
3/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
1 cup vegetable broth
3 Sweet Potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 can (15 oz.) Garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 large can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes with juice

Saute the chopped onion with the olive oil in an 8 quart stock pot until translucent. Add garlic and spices and saute for about 3 minutes. Add vegetable broth and scrape up any bits on bottom of pan. Add sweet potatoes, bell pepper, eggplant, garbanzo beans and tomatoes with their juice. Bring to a boil. Turn down to medium heat. Cover and simmer for about an hour until sweet potatoes are tender, stirring occasionally .

Sweet Potato or Yam?
One of my co-workers was not enthused by the idea of eating sweet potato stew for lunch until he tried it. All he could think of when I said sweet potato was the orange squash-like Yam smothered in marshmallows as so many misguided souls do at Thanksgiving. In the US, we tend to call yams sweet potatoes and thus we get them confused. Make sure you use the yellow colored sweet potato for this recipe and not the orange yam.

No comments: