Middle-Eastern Scented Vegetable StewFebruary 3, 2016
In the middle of a New England snow storm that was threatening to shut down New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and New England for up to three days, I was craving something warm, comforting and sustaining - that wasn't going to take all day to cook. I've been trying to eat healthier as well. So I look for ways to pack those vegetables into my meals: green smoothies loaded with vegetables (and very little fruit so as not to up the glycemic index), turkey meat-loaf "muffins" stuffed with shredded broccoli, carrots and zucchini, "zoodles" - zucchini noodles made with a nifty gadget called a "spiralizer." Anyway, last Monday, I developed this delicious and hearty vegetable stew. Caramelizing the onions and roasting the grape tomatoes is key to adding lots of full-bodied, rich flavour to the stew. It's well worth the time and effort. The Middle Eastern spices waft through the house as it cooks. And you can make it as "hot and spicy" or mild as you like.
- 2 medium onions diced into medium-sized pieces
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 yellow zucchini
- 1 medium-size head of broccoli cut into florets and stem cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ bag kale bag of kale, woody stems removed and torn into pieces about the size of your palm
- 2 large containers grape tomatoes cut each tomato in half
- 10 (approx.) sun-dried tomatoes in oil cut into strips
- snow peas or sugar-snap pea pods cut in half
- 3 carrots cut into strips (quarters about 2½-inches long)
- 1 can chickpeas sodium-free
- 1 large can Muir Glen (or other brand) Organic Fire-Roasted Whole tomatoes
- 1 small can Spicy V-8 juice and then I add that same size can of water
- 2-4 cloves garlic crushed
- olive oil
- splash balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp Haweyej marak (recipe can be found in Ottolenghi's cookbook <em>Jerusalem</em>) or can use 1 tsp cumin + 1 tsp coriander + 1 tsp turmeric + 1 tsp cardamom
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ dried chili pepper crushed
- ½ ground Ancho chili pepper more or less to taste
- ½ tsp curry powder optional
- 1-2 tbsp dried basil
- Caramelize the onions: Cover the bottom of an 8-quart soup pot with olive oil. Heat on high heat until it sizzles. Add the onions and immediately turn heat down to medium. Slowly cook the onions, stirring regularly until they turn a beautiful caramel color. This will take about 20-30 minutes or so. When they are almost done, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and stir some more.
- While you are caramelizing the onions, cover a large, heavy-duty , rimmed cookie sheet with parchment paper. Lightly coat the parchment paper with olive oil. Place the cut grape tomatoes on the parchment paper and toss to cover in the oil. Sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper and salt. I also like to sprinkle with Penzey Spices Tuscan Herb blend. But you can use whatever you like. Roast in a 425° Fahrenheit oven for approximately 20-30 minutes until they are roasted and the juices are running. (You don't want them totally mushy.)
- After onions have caramelized in the pot, add the crushed garlic and cook for a few moments. Add the sliced sun-dried tomatoes.
- Add the diced zucchini and peppers and broccoli. Mix with a spoon.
- Add in the whole can of tomatoes - with the water, and the can of Spicy V-8, plus the 1 small can of water. Cut up the tomatoes with a knife.
- Add the roasted tomatoes with whatever juices they released.
- Add all the other vegetables and chick peas. (Except the kale, which you're saving for last.)
- Add the spices. (You will need to adjust to taste. So taste!)
- Add the kale - it will eventually wilt.
- Cook for approximately half hour, until all the vegetables have become soft.
Keeps in fridge for 5-6 days.
Eat as is – or over rice, pasta. Or grate cheese over it.