I've had a recipe for a spicy lamb and sweet potato stew that I got from some long-defunct magazine called, I think, Good Food Magazine (very original). Through the years, I've modified it and adjusted it to my taste, and so I present it to you this week:
Spicy Veal and Sweet Potato Stew
- 1-2 pounds veal stew meat (e.g. how meaty do you want the stew, and how much stew do you want?)
- 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into large cubes or slices (1 inch cubes work)
- 3 medium, fresh zucchinis, washed and sliced
- 1 14oz can diced tomatoes (unflavored - eg., no "italian style" etc.)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed (or more, to taste, which goes for the ginger and curry, too)
- 2 TB fresh ginger, minced or pressed
- 2 TB good quality curry powder
- 2-4 TB vegetable oil (for browning)
- 1-2 cups (as necessary) water (only if that's all you have), stock (chicken or vegetable), or beer (yum! Ales and lagers work nicely)
- salt and pepper (freshly ground, remember!) to taste
Heat about 2 TB of the oil in a 6 quart pot at medium-high heat, and add garlic and ginger. Saute briefly (don't let it burn!), and add the curry powder, plus a bit of the ground pepper (to your taste). Continue to saute (yes, keep it moving!) for about 30 seconds, until everything is nicely aromatic. Add the veal and stir well so that the spice mix covers the veal well.*** Brown the veal for about 3-5 minutes, then add the tomatoes, the sweet potatoes, and the liquid of choice.
The amount of liquid you add depends on how watery you want the stew - don't forget, during the covered cooking, additional liquid will be released from the other ingredients. If you want the stew fairly liquid, I suggest that you hype up the spices.
Stir well, bring just to a boil, then lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and let it cook quietly for about 30-45 minutes. The sweet potatoes should just be getting tender, but this stew is really pertty forgiving. Add the zucchini, stir well again, and cover and cook until the zucchs are tender.
This is great served over rotini pasta; the original recipe called for orzo, so you could also serve it over that, or rice. Fresh crusty bread and a crisp salad are excellent sides.
Remember, any recipe that I give is always only a guideline: your tastes may like it milder or spicier. Go ahead and experiment! As long as nothing gets burned, you pretty much can't go wrong, so have fun. As a matter of fact, I've always wondered how this would work with chicken, which is usually easier to find than veal. I've never gotten around to it, so if you try it, let me know how it turns out, please!
This week's Carnival is hosted by the Countertop Chronicles (link here, when I get it), so make sure you all stop by and look at all the nummy treats!
*** An alternate way to do this is to mix the veal and spices together with about 1 TB oil, and let them marinate overnight, before browning them in oil. It intensifies the flavor, but it takes forethought, something that I frequently lack!