A really easy Sweetpotato and Lentil Curry that's gluten free and vegan, too! Serve it with naan bread and yogurt.
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Soups & Stews
Thick, rich, and flavorful, this chili is loaded with hearty goodies like beans, meat (or substitute brown rice), tomatoes, and of course, big chunks of sweetpotatoes.
This stew is a little Latin, a little East Indian, and all yum. The vernal sauce that’s spooned on top—a combo of COOC-certified California extra virgin olive oil, lime juice, scallions, and herbs—provides just the right amount of brightness to complement the hearty stew.
Chicken and Sweetpotato Stew with Scallion Salsa Verde
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups chicken broth, or more as desired
1/2 cup uncooked green lentils
6 tablespoons olive oil, ideally COOC-certified California extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 1/4 pounds orange- or yellow-fleshed sweetpotatoes, or a combination, cut into 1-inch dice
2 teaspoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or more to taste
1 1/4 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, thighs, or a combination, cut into 1-inch dice
One 14.5- to 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1 or 2 limes
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 serrano chile, stemmed, seeded, and minced
About 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, for serving
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the broth and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside (the lentils won’t be fully cooked).
While the lentils are cooking, in a large saucepan or small stockpot over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the sweetpotatoes, chili powder, coriander, cumin, salt, and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until the chicken and sweetpotatoes are lightly browned, about 5 minutes.
Add the garbanzos and the broth and lentil mixture, scraping up any browned bits in the saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce to a simmer, and cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweetpotatoes and lentils are tender and the chicken is cooked through, about 12 minutes. (If the mixture seems too thick, add more broth as desired.)
Meanwhile, finely zest one of the limes. Squeeze the zested lime and the additional lime if necessary to yield 2 tablespoons of juice. In a small bowl, combine the zest, juice, scallions, cilantro, parsley, chile, and remaining 1/4 cup of oil. Add salt to taste and set aside.
Taste the stew and add more salt and/or pepper to taste. Serve garnished with the yogurt and salsa verde, with any remaining salsa verde on the side.
Recipe developed in partnership with the California Olive Oil Council
From "Easy Soups from Scratch with Quick Breads to Match" by Ivy Manning (Chronicle Books, 2017) The comforting cookbook pairs homemade soups with freshly baked bread in under an hour. Here, Ivy shares a recipe from the book, and the inspiration behind it.
I’ve sampled the dishes from street-food stands all over Jamaica, and my hands down favorite dish is their thick, spicy “brown stew.” The hearty stew is full of whatever local vegetables are around and includes some sort of meat—chicken or goat being the most common. I opt for spice-coated pork tenderloin here. The fruity heat of habanero chile is pronounced, so if your family isn’t fond of spicy food, omit the chile and serve habanero hot sauce on the side.
Jamaican Pork and Sweetpotato Stew
Serves 4 to 6
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
4 medium garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped habanero chile, or more to taste
2 tablespoons tomato paste
6 cups chicken broth
1 1/4 pounds orange- or yellow/white-fleshed sweetpotatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 1/4 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 to 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
Soy sauce, for seasoning
Adjust the oven rack so it is 6 inches below the heating element and preheat the broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large soup pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and carrot and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, thyme, and habanero and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add the tomato paste and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the chicken broth, sweetpotatoes, and Worcestershire. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the sweetpotatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
While the soup is simmering, place the pork on the prepared baking sheet and toss with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Sprinkle the meat with the flour, brown sugar, allspice, cinnamon, pepper, and salt and toss to coat. Arrange the meat in a single layer and broil, without stirring, until the meat is browned on one side, 4 to 5 minutes (the pork will finish cooking in the soup).
Transfer the pork and drippings from the baking sheet to the pot. Simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the flavors have melded and the soup has thickened a bit, about 10 minutes more. If you’d like the soup to be still thicker, use a potato masher to mash some of the sweetpotatoes. Season the soup with the lime juice and soy sauce.
Ladle the stew into bowls and serve immediately.
Note: This recipe doubles easily, tastes better the next day, and freezes well. Go easy on the habanero; just 1/2 of the finely chopped chile will be plenty, as the stew will become spicier the next day. Store in airtight containers or zip-top plastic freezer bags in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Here’s a great way to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but don’t let that keep you from enjoying this curry any time of year with turkey, chicken, pork, or beef, or make it vegetarian additional vegetables. In any incarnation, it's quick, comforting, flavorful, and—thanks to California figs and California sweetpotatoes—a little bit sweet.
Turkey, Sweetpotato, and Fig Curry
Serves 4 to 6
1 tablespoon coconut oil or other high-heat cooking oil
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onion
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
2 tablespoons curry powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups cooked shredded turkey
1 pound orange- or yellow/white-fleshed sweetpotatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 3 cups)
1 1/2 cups halved Blue Ribbon Orchard Choice or Sun-Maid California Figs, (about 5 ounces)
One 14-ounce can full-fat coconut milk
1 cup water
Cooked rice, for serving
Chopped scallions, for garnish
In a medium saucepan, boil or steam the sweetpotatoes until fork tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring often, until tender, about 7 minutes. Add the curry powder and salt and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the turkey, figs, coconut milk, and water, scraping up any browned bits in the skillet. Stir in the sweetpotatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook until the ingredients are heated through, about 5 minutes.
Serve the curry over rice, garnished with scallions
Recipe and photo by Annelies Zijderveld