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Vegan for the Holidays

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Vegetarians in Paradise
 Vegetarian Cooking with Zel

'Tis the season for pumpkins to come out of the patch and on onto the dinner table, and there's no better way to enjoy them than in a warming stew. This stew features the hearty and deliciously sweet kabocha squash, often called Japanese pumpkin. African Pumpkin Stew is a terrific make-ahead one-dish meal that can feed a crowd or make two or three meals for two people on busy nights when there's no time to cook.

This stew is also ideal to make in December to celebrate Kwanzaa, a celebratory holiday that begins December 26. Pumpkin is indigenous to the African continent and is the mainstay of many different stew-like dishes.

Both steamed brown rice and millet make ideal accompaniments to spoon into the stew, though some cooks prefer to ladle the stew over either. While the stew is well endowed with seasonings, it's not spicy. To give it a lively kick, add a small pinch of cayenne as a garnish to each bowl.

This tasty dish can be found in Vegan for the Holidays Cookbook.

African Pumpkin Stew


Yield: 8 to 10 servings

    1 kabocha squash 2 1/2 to 3 pounds (1.3 to 1.4 kilograms)

    4 onions, coarsely chopped
    2 large carrots, cut into 1/2 -inch (1.3 cm) chunks

    4 pounds (1.8 kilograms) tomatoes, diced
    1 pound (453g) eggplant, cut into 2-inch (5 cm) chunks
    3 1/2 cups (840 ml) water
    2 teaspoons ground coriander
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    2 teaspoons chili powder
    1 1/2 teaspoons salt
    1 teaspoon dried thyme
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    Freshly ground pepper

    1 bunch Swiss chard, ribs discarded, finely shopped
    1 cup (240 ml) roasted, unsalted peanuts, coarsely chopped
    1/2 cup (120 ml) chopped fresh mint
    1 to 2 jalapeno chiles, minced

    Juice of 1 lemon
    Cayenne, for garnish

  1. Cut the squash in half with a sharp knife. (It is not necessary to remove the skin, because it becomes tender when cooked.) Discard the seeds, Cut the squash into 1-inch chunks and set aside.
  2. Put the onions and carrots in a food processor. Pulse until minced. Transfer them to a large stockpot.
  3. Add the tomatoes, eggplant, water, coriander, cumin, chili powder, 1 teaspoon of the salt, thyme, cinnamon, cloves, and pepper to the stockpot. Bring to a boil over high heat. Decrease the heat to medium or medium-high, partially cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
  4. Add the reserved kabocha squash, chard, 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the peanuts, mint, and jalapeno and cook another 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Before serving, add the lemon juice and mix thoroughly. Ladle the stew into bowls and garnish each serving with the remaining 1/2 cup (120 ml) peanuts and cayenne, if desired.

Click here for past cookingwithzel@home.comeonin recipes

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