This weekend I was cooking for our Women’s Meditation Retreat in Big Bear. With the beautiful blanket of white snow outside our log cabin windows, it finally felt like winter had arrived in California. In honor of the holidays coming up and the brisk air outside, I wanted to ring in the season with a hearty stew to warm the soul and belly. I experimented with making this stew vegan to accommodate the dietary restrictions of some of our attendees. With some toasted gluten-free garlic bread on the side, this veggie stew was a warm delicious hug in a bowl. This could be a perfect addition to your holiday menu as we step into the season of sharing, gathering and feasting.
2 sweet potatoes
1 butternut squash
4 stalks of celery
1 cup de-stemmed kale
1/2 can of chickpeas
6 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped ginger root
salt & pepper to taste
avocado & cilantro to garnish
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. With a fork, poke holes in the sweet potatoes, rub them with olive oil and lay them on a pan. Leave the garlic cloves in their skin, drizzle with olive oil and wrap in aluminum foil.
TIP: If you chop off the top of the garlic bulb before you roast it, the garlic can easily be “squeezed” out of its skin.
Chop the carrots and 1 zucchini in half, length-wise. Chop the ginger root into chunks. De-seed, skin and chop the butternut squash into cubes. Rub the carrots, celery, 1 zucchini and ginger root with olive oil and lay on a cookie sheet, single layer, flat side down. On another cookie sheet, rub the butternut squash cubes with olive oil and lay in a single layer.
Roast the vegetables for 35-45 minutes in the oven until fork-tender.
TIP: The vegetables will “caramelize” and get brown on the face-down side, so turn them over halfway through to get both sides evenly roasted. The sweet potatoes will take longer, so it is important to roast them on a separate pan so that you can take out each vegetable from the oven as they are ready.
Let the vegetables cool. Once the sweet potatoes are room temp, the skin should easily peel off. Puree the inside of the sweet potato in a food processor, then set aside in a large stock pot. In batches, chop the cooked carrots, celery and zucchini into smaller chunks and puree. Add into stock pot. Then puree the garlic and ginger root. Combine all of the puree into the stock pot and stir together.
TIP: Add 1 cup of water to thin it out as you go.
Finely chop one onion. Heat a skillet over medium heat adding 1 Tbsp of olive oil. Cook onions in the pan until they are translucent and caramelized.
TIP: The onions excrete moisture–these “sugars” turn the onions into a brown caramel color as they cook.
Bring the puree to a boil and stir. Add the cooked onion and remaining raw chopped zucchini, mushrooms, kale and chickpeas.
Cook on the stovetop over medium heat for 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure the bottom doesn’t stick or burn. Once the zucchini and mushrooms are fork-tender, salt and pepper to taste. Add avocado and cilantro on top of each serving to garnish.
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Recipe by Sarah Prikryl // Photography by Sarah Prikryl
© 2015 Sirens and Scoundrels