Friday, December 7, 2007

Holiday Stew

I have been tossing around this dish in my head for a few days. How to make something that tastes like Christmas is coming? Do you serve with rice? Noodles? Do you bake it? Roast it? Fry it? I finally settled on a stew--warm and hearty. The thyme and sage remind me of stuffing, and the roasted chestnuts and chickpeas work really well together. Cranberries add a nice splash of tart flavour to finish everything off.

- 30 chestnuts
- 2 tbsp oil
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 small red onion, diced
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 3 tsp sage
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
- 2 tsp thyme
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup apple juice
- 2 large (or 4 small) Yukon Gold potatoes, scrubbed and diced
- 1 cup fresh cranberries
- 3 cups of water
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- 3 generous tbsp flour
- 1/3 cup plain soy milk
- 1/4 cup vegan "chicken" broth powder
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries
- salt and pepper to taste

1. First, roast the chestnuts. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use a sharp paring knife to cut/punch an X through the shell of each chestnut (lets the steam escape). Place nuts, X side up, on a baking sheet and roast for about 20 mins, until shell splits and peels back around the X. Set aside to cool.
2. Heat oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Saute onions and celery until browned. Add chickpeas and spices and saute an additional two minutes. (While onions are cooking, slice chestnuts in half and peel).
3. Add in apple juice to deglaze pot. Add in potatoes, cranberries, water, and soy sauce. Bring to bubbling. Lower heat, cover, and simmer for 15 mins, or until potatoes are softened.
4. Mix flour into soy milk (I put both in a small container with a lid and shake). Add to pot and mix well. Add in broth powder. Bring to bubbling and let thicken.
5. Add in dried cranberries and chestnuts and cook for 5 mins. Season to taste with salt and pepper.