I can honestly say that this is one of the best recipes I have ever invented. This morning I was longing for lunchtime, just because I had leftovers of this stew. It is so flavourful, plus a healthy vegan meal. Filling, healthy and satisfying – the perfect combination for me.
The sweet potatoes give a hint of sweetness, and the Morita chilies add a little smokiness. If you’re not a fan of a lot of spice, no worries, the Morita chilies aren’t very hot, and you can always add a little less jalapeño pepper. When serving you can also add some of your favourite hot sauce to spice things up a little; this is a great option, since everyone has a different tolerance of spice. One person’s ‘warm’ is another person’s ‘deadly.’
I had a taste of the stew after cooking it yesterday when I made it. The flavours seemed even better today, so I would imagine this would freeze well. I think I won’t have any leftovers, so I won’t be able to test that. Please comment if you freeze it and let us know how it was after thawing. I’d also love to hear if people make substitutions; this is one of those recipes that could be great with so made different ingredients.
The garnishes really add to it, but aren’t necessary – a tiny bit of salty Cotija cheese, some chopped cilantro, and the crunch of the toasted pepitas.
What you need:
- 1 & 1/2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked the night before
- 1 carrot
- 1 stalk celery
- 1 onion
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 dried Morita chilies (a smoked red jalapeño)
- olive oil
- 1 vegetable bouillon cube
- 1 jalapeño pepper, minced
- a few mushrooms, chopped
- 1 small zucchini, diced
- 1 sweet potato, diced
- 1 small can cherry tomatoes, chopped
- 1 bunch cilantro (stems go in the stew)
- salt and pepper to taste
- Garnishes: crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds), cilantro
What you do:
- Soak the beans in a large pot of water the night before you are going to make the stew.
- Drain the beans, then cover them with fresh water. Add the whole carrot, celery stalk, 1/4 of the onion, the bay leaves, and the chilies. All of these vegetables are for flavouring the stew and will be removed before serving. Bring the contents of the pot to a simmer.
- While the beans are simmering, heat a frying pan to medium and add a little olive oil. Add the mushrooms and fry until cooked, then add them to the pot. Dice the rest of the onions and brown them lightly, then add them to the pot.
- Add the minced jalapeño (or half if you you’re spiciness scares you), the diced zucchini, sweet potato, and canned cherry tomatoes to the pot. Chop the cilantro stems and add them to the pot, along with the bouillon cube.
- Simmer the stew for 1 & 1/2 hours, stirring now and then, until the beans are soft and the stew has thickened.
- Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve garnished with crumbled Cotija cheese, toasted pepitas and cilantro.
I’ve roasted a chicken many times in a clay baker, and have posted the recipes a few times. Romertopf roasted chicken remains one of the most popular recipes on my blog. I changed up a few of the ingredients this time, and added more vegetables to cook inside the baker.
On a winter’s evening it is a perfect simple and satisfying meal. Impressive too, since it seems like you went to a lot of effort, but it’s actually quite simple, and you don’t need to do any last-minute preparation.
Served with a salad and maybe a nice baguette, it’s the perfect winter meal. And the leftovers are awesome!
What you need:
- 1 free-range chicken
- 1-2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil (or regular olive oil, or room temperature butter)
- a few sprigs of fresh thyme
- a few stems of fresh rosemary
- a few cloves of garlic
- a few small potatoes
- a small sweet potato or yam
- a few carrots
- 1/2 red or sweet onion
- lemon (optional)
What you do:
- Soak the Romertopf clay roaster for at least 15-20 minutes before using. This provides some moisture for the cooking process, and keeps the roaster from cracking.
- Drain the roaster and place the rosemary stems in the bottom of the roaster, reserving one. Chop the vegetables into chunks and place them in the roaster, leaving an empty spot in the middle around the rosemary.
- Dry the body and cavity of the chicken with paper towel. At the breast of the bird, put your fingers under the skin to separate the skin. Put the rosemary stem and a few springs of thyme under the skin. Salt and pepper the whole chicken.
- Spread some of the garlic-infused olive oil all over the chicken, using your hands. Now sprinkle on some paprika on the chicken.
- If you have a lemon you can stuff it into the cavity of the chicken, along with some thyme.
- Place the chicken in the roaster, breast side up, and tuck the wing tips down so they won’t burn. Throw a few sprigs of thyme on top of the vegetables.
- Place the cover on the roaster, then put it in a cold oven – this is important to prevent the clay roaster from cracking when it goes into a hot oven. Turn the temperature to 4ooF and set the timer for 1 & 1/2 hours. Leave it to roast without peeking; this will help keep all the moisture inside.
- After the 1 & 1/2 hours of cooking time, remove the roaster from the oven. Test the chicken to see if it’s cooked all the way through by cutting into the leg joint: if the juices run clear it is done. If not, return it to the oven for a little longer. As well, if the skin doesn’t look browned, pop it back in without the lid and let it brown a little. Once it is done let it sit with the cover on for about 20 minutes before carving. I like to ladle some of the juices over the chicken, and you could also make a gravy with the juices.
Save the bones and excess juices in the freezer to make a gorgeous stock that you can use to make the best soups.
Garlic confit is simply garlic that has been slow-cooked in olive oil – but it is also magical! It can be added to pizza, vegetable, soup and so many other foods, and the garlic-infused oil can be added to salad dressing or used for roasting.
I made up a batch recently and I’m quickly making my way through the jar of garlic, which has a lovely mellow roasted flavour. So good!
What you need:
- a few bulbs of garlic
- olive oil
What you do:
- The most labour-intensive part of this recipe, peel the garlic cloves. Mine had the green “germ” growing inside, so I cut the cloves in half to remove it. I think it adds a bitter taste.
- Preheat the oven to 200F.
- Place the peeled cloves in a dish and pour in some olive oil, until all the cloves are covered. Use tin foil to cover the container, then place it in the oven for about 2 hours.
- Remove the container from the oven and let it cool. Pour into a jar and store in the fridge. It should keep for a few weeks.
Simple and healthy, this is one of the vegetable dishes I make up on a regular basis. Add a little protein and rice, and it makes a complete meal for one. But truth be told, sometimes I just make up a giant bowl of this and eat it on its own for dinner.
What you need for one serving:
- 1/2 red bell pepper
- a handful of sugar snap peas
- sesame oil
- 1 clove garlic
- soy sauce
- black chinese vinegar
- hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
What you do:
- Prepare the vegetables by slicing the pepper and removing the strings from the sugar snap peas. Slice the garlic.
- Heat a frying pan to medium-high heat and add a drizzle of sesame oil. Add the peppers to the pan and fry until they begin to get soft. Add the garlic to the pan, then throw in the snap peas.
- Add a splash each of soy, vinegar, mirin, and a few drops of hot sauce. Adjust the flavours to taste. Cook this until the sauce begins to thicken up, only a minute or two, so the snap peas still have some crispness to them.
- Serve immediately – enjoy!