Sunday, January 9, 2011

Toasty Kale and Sweet Potato Stew

Hobbling and hopping around the kitchen, crutch in one hand and the other filled with random jars and kale, I only wish there was a fly on the wall to see the hilarity of the crippled cook's choreography that has begun to fill my day-to-day life. My dishes have become simpler, excluding things that would require another trip across the chasm that is my 8-foot-wide kitchen and a little hopes of healing this broken ankle as soon as possible. Today's adventure was this kale and sweet potato stew finished with toasted cumin.

I really don't think I could have hoped for a better bowl concocted from bits and pieces of meals past. For the base, I started with a jar dark and creamy black bean juice leftover from some beans I made last week. To that went some chopped onion (don't even bother to sauté it) and the cubed sweet potato. This boiled for a while until the 'taters were tender, then I added just a little parsnip puree that was hiding in the fridge for some extra body. While that was heating back up, the cumin seeds were toasting in a dry cast iron pan over medium heat until the seeds are a nice roasted brown color. You really want to do this slowly, or else you'll get a nasty bitter off-flavor.

Then comes the fun part. Chop up some kale or other greens, toss them in and then grind away at the now-cooled cumin and get it right into soup as well, stirring everything up and then taking the pot off the heat. Those roasted aromatics don't last forever and the more quickly you get them in the stew and on the table, the longer you can sit there with the bowl under your nose, inhaling with content. Yum.

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