Two dinner posts in a row! But I gotta do it.
Rachel’s African-Inspired Stew …is what I shall call it, for lack of a better idea
I was feeling pretty awesome for putting together this list of ingredients to make an interesting and flavorful soup! First I chopped the shallot small and sauteed it in a little bit of olive oil. Then I chopped the sweet potato into smallish pieces and added them to the pot with some broth and let them boil for a bit, since I’ve made soup with sweet potatoes in it before and undercooked it and been disappointed. Then I added the spices.
Then I called my mom and asked her when I should add the kale and ended up talking to her for ten minutes.
And then I figured…
Hey, some whole wheat pasta noodles would be good in this! So I cooked a handful of noodles in a separate pot. I think that’s key when I make soup – prepare the noodles separately and add when ready to eat! Not everyone does that, but I think it’s gross when the noodles absorb the broth and get mushy.
I chopped the kale and added it, and then added about half the can of garbanzo beans – unlike the noodles, even though the beans are already cooked, they’re harder than I like.
And THEN, I was like, HEY…
…some peanut flavor would be awesome in this! See, I’d looked up some generic “African stew” recipes to inspire me as far as spices, since the garbanzos + sweet potatoes just sort of seemed culinarily related (but what do I know). And then I realized another inspiration, my aunt’s stew (which made me add the apples and raisins), included crunchy peanuts on top, and getting that flavor in would be yummy. So I added a scant tablespoonful of peanut butter.
By this time most of my veggies were cooked and my pasta was done, so I chopped up my green apple and got ready to serve myself. I put some (raw, room-temp) apple, some golden raisins, and some pasta at the bottom of my bowl, served up some stew, and let me tell you, it was delicious!
– When I’m not cooking with a strict recipe, I don’t measure things or record cooking times. I add how much I think will taste good and be appropriately nutritious, and taste along the way and make adjustments. And I cook… well, until it’s done. As far as cooking temperatures, that was something I had to use instructions for until I felt practiced enough to wing it. Look up cooking temps/times on any soup recipe, play around, and you’ll be ready to do it without specific instructions really quick.
– That being said, I cooked the sweet potatoes too long! I loved the different textures of this dinner, but the sweets were a bit too mushy. (Remember what I said about the pasta though – it was juuuust right.)
– The spice combination was delicious, rich and flavorful with mild heat, and the peanut flavor in the background was just what I was looking for.
– I wish I’d chopped things into smaller, more uniform pieces though. There were so many different flavors and textures going on in here that I didn’t get all of them in every bite, which was kind of a bummer, because I wanted to!
Anyway, in closing, thanks for sticking with me this long, ha. Clearly I’m not a chef, but I do like to play with delicious food. Soup is a fun thing to test out new ideas on, because you can get a lot in there. And even though this isn’t a recipe, per se, I hope it inspires someone!