Friday, December 10, 2010

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow - Winter Stew

When the weather outside is frightful and the chill in the air urges me to walk more briskly from place to place in hopes of returning home to a piping hot bowl of home-sweet-home.

My recipe must serve 6 people, but with two of us at the house you can be sure that the house will smell like this stew for nearly a week at a time. I just leave the pot on the stove in front the window that has a very strong draft. When I'm not using the kitchen the temperature drops rapidly, comparable to refrigeration. Then all I have to do when I come home is fire up the stove and presto, the house smells lovely and warmth fills our stomachs. Now, if only I had a fireplace...

This is going to be my new favorite repeat recipe. It's heart healthy, but it keeps it's secret well. It's packed full of savory chunks of goodness, and whole grains. It's low in sugar and salt. You can add just as much spice as you like.

Winter Stew

2 tsp (càc) olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 leek
1/2 tsp (càc) ground coriander
1/2 tsp (càc) cumin seeds
1/4 tsp (càc) ground red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

3 2/3 cups vegetable stock

3/4 tsp (càc) salt
1 tbsp (càs) harissa (North African hot sauce) or 1 1/2 tsp (càc) tomato paste if you don't like spicy

1/2 butternut squash
3 carrots
1 large potato
2 large turnips
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 1/3 cups uncooked couscous grains
1 fresh lemon

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Clean and chop the onion and leek; sauté 5 minutes. Click here for an easy way to clean leeks. Add coriander, cumin, red pepper and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Prepare your vegetables in large 3/4 inch cubes. Add the vegetable stock and the chunky vegetables and chic peas; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes.

When you are ready to serve the stew, stir in the parsley and couscous. Let the couscous fluff for 5 minutes before serving in bowls with lemon wedges.

Nutritional information per serving (serving size: 3/4 cup squash mixture, 1/2 cup couscous, and 1 lemon wedge): calories: 264; fat: 2.3 grams (saturated 0.3 grams, monounsaturated 1 gram, polyunsaturated 0.6 gram); protein: 8.3 grams; carbohydrate: 54.5 grams; fiber: 7.5 grams; cholesterol: 0 milligrams; iron: 2.4 milligrams; sodium: 425 milligrams; calcium: 92 milligrams.

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