Creamy Potato Peanut Stew (Guatita)

Given that this weekend was generally uneventful, Luke and I decided that it would be an excellent opportunity to cook something completely out of our comfort zone for dinner, in order to keep things interesting. Does anybody else find this to be a perfectly reasonable way to spend a night in? Kitchen experimentation is far better than spending big bucks on a dinner out as far as I’m concerned, and far more rewarding when you’re making delicious dishes whose names you can’t even pronounce. What’d we make this weekend? Gua-ti-ta my friends. Guatita. Luckily my vegan latin cookbook, which was one of the bunch I bought and showed you here, also translated it into non-latino-foodie speak, which is ‘creamy potato peanut stew’. Phew.

It may have a foreign name, but guatita is not that hard to make. Well, the vegetarian version isn’t. I googled it, the meat version traditionally includes cow stomach so… you’re on your own with that one. But the potato, chickpea and peanut version is made of pretty easily obtainable vegetables and spices, and like any stew, just requires a liberal amount of cooking time. Also, it’s apparently an excellent cure for a hangover – but who’d be prepared enough to make this prior to a big night out? And hats off to you if you make this in your actual hung over state.

I don’t know whether it was because I scooped our rice into a measuring cup to plate it nicely next to the guatita, or because this potato peanut stew is straight up scrumptious, but eating it I felt like we were in a restaurant, it was that shockingly tasty. Who doesn’t love peanut-based sauces? (no seriously, I’d like to know. Is there actually anyone besides anaphylactics that don’t eat peanuts?) Another thing I love about this dinner is that it makes a lot of food, and you know how I feel about having enough leftovers for workday lunches.

Last thing, if you’re a vegetarian and you haven’t bought any cookbooks written by Terry Hope Romero and Isa Moskovitz, you’re crazy. Every single dish I’ve made from their books so far (including my vegan cupcakes, which are usually a direct version of or variation on their recipes) has been nothing short of amazing. Even if you’re not a veg and you’re looking to diversify your meals, I highly recommend their books. Alright already, let’s get to the good stuff, yea?

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lbs yellow-skinned potatoes (waxy skinned are best)
  • 1 can cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 large onion (about .5 lb), diced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1/4 white wine
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1.5 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp ground paprika
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup creamy natural peanut butter
  • 3 fresh plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk
  • 2 tbsp lime juice (we used 1 lime)
  • 1 tsp salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground pepper
  • slices of avocado (optional garnish)
  • hot sauce (optional garnish)
  • 1/2 bunch of steamed kale (optional garnish)
  • cooked basmati rice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Scrub the potatoes, and without removing the skin, slice into 1/2-inch pieces and place in a bowl of cold water (this prevents browning — just drain the water before using the potatoes).
  2. In a large pot, heat the 2 tbsp olive oil and garlic over medium heat. Fry until the garlic just starts to sizzle, about 30 seconds. Add the onions and pepper, and fry until soft, around 12 minutes. Deglaze the pan with wine and add the oregano, ground cumin, paprika, and 1 tsp olive oil. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the drained potatoes, chickpeas and vegetable broth. INcrease the heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to low. Partially cover the pot and simmer for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally until the potatoes are tender.
  3. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot broth into a small bowl. Add the peanut butter to the bowl and stir to emulsify the peanut butter to a creamy, smooth mixture, adding more broth if necessary. Spoon the mixture back into the pot. Add the crushed tomatoes, nondairy milk, lime juice, and salt to the stew and stir. Taste and adjust the flavour with more lime juice or salt, if necessary. Turn off the heat, season the guatita with freshly ground pepper, cover the pot, and allow the stew to sit 15 minutes before serving.
  4. To serve, mound the rice on the plate, and ladle the stew around it. Serve with the kale and hot sauce, if desired.

For some reason, this was the first time I have ever had plain steamed kale. I usually put it in fruit smoothies, but have stopped lately because it can be quite bitter. Steaming kale takes all of the bitterness away (as long as you remove the stems), and what you’re left with is the most naturally tasty veggie I’ve ever eaten. Holy cow, who’s been keeping this a secret?! If you’re not eating this on the regular, do yourself a favour and try it as soon as you can, preferably as a garnish to your guatita! It is delicious. And for once, something this yummy is actually good for you!

Recipe: Three Bean + Quinoa Chilli

Because it’s finally getting a bit cooler here in Melbourne (and by that I mean it’s still low- to mid-twenties), and because I’m a sucker for a good one pot meal, last week I decided to bust out my trusty bean and quinoa chilli recipe for dinner. I love this recipe because it contains quinoa, which is one of my favourite foods (excellent health claims aside, I just love its texture), and because it makes enough chilli to pack for lunches for the next few days at work. It’s a perfect, easy weeknight meal, and it’s definitely best made earlier in the week to reap the benefits of having pre-made lunch for the week. But what’s obviously more important than that is it tastes so good. It’s a really flavourful chilli with lots of herbs and spices in it, and a little bit of heat if you decide to include the jalapeno.

Aside from taking the time to chop all of the vegetables, this chilli takes almost no time to prepare: 10 minutes sautéing the veggies prior to simmering, and then leave it over low heat for 30-40 minutes. Imagine that, cooking dinner and you’ve got time to do other things. It’s like that commercial where the mom buys a new mop and cleans the house in record time, and finally has time to read her book. This chilli, this is the Swiffer Sweeper of dinner recipes. I know right, mops for dinner, you’re clearly sold.

Obviously this recipe is really filling, as it’s got an insane amount of protein in it, what with the three cans of beans and the quinoa. I used to use black beans back when I was living in Canada, but since for some reason they are completely non-existent here in Australia (like seriously, how do they make any sort of Spanish/Mexican cuisine!? I can’t figure this out), I replaced them with lentils. So whichever your preference is for beans, just buy three cans of something, and toss it in. Hey, there’s no precision in cooking chilli. But from a cooking perspective, make sure you add a generous helping of herbs and spices, and I promise you this is going to be your new favourite dinner (well, after the macaroni + cheese, seriously that can’t be beat in my opinion). All that’s left to add is a crusty roll to sop up the remnants and you’re good to go!

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded (if you like extra spice, leave some of the seeds in)
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked kidney beans)
  • 1 can lentils, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked lentils)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or 1.5 cups cooked chickpeas)
  • 1 can corn kernels
  • 4-5 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or 1/4 cup tomato paste and 3/4 cups water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the oil on medium heat, then add garlic and onion. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the onions start to become translucent.
  2. Add the peppers and the jalapeño, and cook for 5 minutes on medium-high. Add the herbs and spices (not the salt), and stir for 2 more minutes.
  3. While the veggies are cooking, add the rest of the ingredients, except the soy sauce and molasses, to a large pot.
  4. Once the veggies are cooked, add them to the large pot, and stir. Bring the pot to a boil, and then reduce to simmer for approximately 30 minutes, or until the potatoes are cooked to your liking.

This recipe can also be made in a crockpot, which I used to use all the time back in Canada. I have yet to buy one here in Oz, but if you want to come home to a nice big meal of chilli, prepare the veggies ahead of time, as per steps 1 and 2, and then add everything to the crockpot. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. The quinoa cooks perfectly in the juices of the chilli, so you’ll come home to a delicious, ready-made meal. Enjoy!