Tunisian Sweet Potato Stew

Much to the chagrin of Jen and Lily, I occasionally enjoy a Moroccan/North African dish. It’s something about the earthiness of the individual ingredients combining to create new and surprising flavors. Even the color of the food comes in beautiful earth tones. And besides, who doesn’t love couscous?

Earf Tone Spices!

I think it’s the combination of spices that makes or breaks this stew. I’m sure most Western people would cringe when they hear of cumin, cinnamon, and peanut butter all going into the same pot. After spot-checking a general Google search for similar recipes, I’m under the impression that this is a fairly traditional, or at least popular, dish that can be created with a myriad of ingredients and cooked using different methods. So, I opine that either the funkiness of ingredients must be embraced (or unknown) to the eater before the first bite is taken or the eater will have already made up their mind to be repulsed by the food in their mouth. Such is what happened to my wife and daughter. *Sigh*

I, for one, really enjoyed this stew. And just looking back at the list of ingredients (and now knowing that I would be solely responsible for eating all of it) wish I had gone with more jalapenos and crushed red pepper. More heat would have made this stew even more awesome, but I was making it child safe. Maybe next time…

Onions, garlic, and jalapenos – yum!

I think the next time I make this, though, I’ll have to omit the onions. Oh, and for this dish you’re going to need to big pot unless you cut the recipe in half.

Chop and chuck into the pot with some water.

Add the seasonings, combine, and cook for a minute.

I added the sweet potatoes and green beans first to kind of toss in with the liquidy onion mixture in an attempt to infuse the sweet potatoes with some extra flavor. I don’t know if it worked. Let’s pretend it was a good idea.

Add tomatoes and vegetable broth.

And finally, to finish, add garbanzo beans and peanut butter. Yes, I said peanut butter. In the pic above you can see it had a difficult time incorporating into the broth. Give it time and heat.

Bring this to a boil and then simmer for about a half an hour. You know with these things, the longer they cook the more the flavors develop. Stir in the cilantro when you’re about ready to serve.

I topped mine with a small handful of peanuts, too, to give it a little crunch.

If you’re looking for something different – definitely give this a try! I would cut the recipe in half unless you’re feeding a small army. Serve it over couscous or brown rice would work as well (go with the couscous). It’s surprisingly filling! My only regret is that I was too full to eat more the night that I cooked this. Jen will probably add some snarky comment below stating otherwise.

This recipe comes from The Starch Solution: Eat the Foods You Love, Regain Your Health, and Lose the Weight for Good!.

1/3 cup water
1 onion, chopped
2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
5 cups peeled and chunked sweet potatoes or Garnet yams
2  14.5 ounce cans chopped tomatoes
2  14.5 ounce cans garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup green beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
¼ cup natural peanut butter
¼ cup chopped cilantro

Place the water, onion, jalapenos, ginger and garlic in a large pot.  Cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes.  Add cumin, cinnamon, red pepper and coriander.  Cook and stir for 1 minute.  Add sweet potatoes or yams, tomatoes, garbanzo beans, green beans, vegetable broth and peanut butter.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes until sweet potatoes or yams are tender.  Stir in cilantro and let rest for 2 minutes.