Sweet Potato & Chickpea Curry

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My best friend makes this for Thanksgiving every year, but this year she was deep in roasting lamb, making brioche, and baking pies and brought the ingredients over with her recipe and said, “Here.” Well, not quite so peremptorily, but you get the idea. Knowing that her lamb is the most delicious dish that has ever existed on the planet, I was happy to help. Besides, my contribution was two pickled salads that I had made the day before so the brine could work its magic. This is a recipe that originates with Nigella Lawson and was printed in The New York Times years ago. It has been a tradition ever since.

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  • 2 med red onions, peeled
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 serrano pepper – don’t remove the seeds, you want the heat.
  • 2-3 inches of ginger, peeled
  • 3 TBSP canola oil

Chop onions, garlic, serrano pepper, and ginger. Sauté in canola oil over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until softened.

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  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 2/3 tsp turmeric
  • 3 cardamon pods, crushed
  • salt to taste

Add spices, stir and mix. Let bloom by heating so the aroma fills the room. This releases the aromatic oils so they infuse more flavor.

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  • 3 med sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
  • 1 3/4 cup coconut milk (light) (1 can)

Add sweet potatoes and stir until covered by spices. Add coconut milk. Raise heat to medium and simmer.

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  • 1 TBSP tamarind paste
  • 2 1/4 cup vegetable broth (can use water if you don’t have broth)

Heat broth and stir tamarind paste in hot liquid until dissolved (You can use a microwave). Tamarin paste is super sticky, so you want to be sure it is completely dissoved in the hot liquid before you add it to you pan of simmering sweet potatoes. Keep simmering, partially covered for about 25 minutes. You want the sweet potatoes to be tender, but not soft.

  • 4 to 5 cups cooked chickpeas

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Add the chickpeas, stirring them into the sweet potatoes and making sure they heat through. Then remove.

  • 2 TBSP chopped cilantro

Top with cilantro when serving.

This is a warm, slightly spicy dish rich in the hearty, warm flavors of fall with the beautiful browns and oranges of fall as well. It is delicious, hearty, and a great substitute for the traditional mashed potatoes and gravy.  It is a huge meal, serving 12, or great for leftovers. It just tastes even richer the next day.

 

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Chicken and Kale Soup

Chicken & Kale Soup

Normally I would use olive oil to start my soup, but I had some bacon fat from breakfast. I have to count that fat for my diabetes management, so you know darn well, I am going to use the rendered fat for something else. I heated it up and poured it in the stock pot and turned the burner to medium. I chopped up a large yellow onion (about 2 cups of chopped onion) and minced 4 large cloves of garlic and let them cook until the onions were transparent. Meanwhile I rinsed a whole fryer in water under the faucet and removed the organ meat and neck from the insides. I use rinse to make it clear that you do not use soap – which one of the Real Housewives used for her roast chicken.

I put the chicken in the pot and added enough water to cover it completely, turned the heat up to med. high to bring it to a boil. I tossed in two bay leaves and added salt and pepper. One it began to boil, I turned it down to a simmer (4 on my stove) and let it cook until the meat fell off the bone. I then put it in a colander inside of a bowl to cool off enough for me to remove the meat from the bones. I reserved all the white meat to use in salad and sandwiches and returned the dark meat to the soup. All the meat from an entire chicken is just too much meat relative to veggies and this way I get more meals from it. At this point, the soup can go in any direction. I decided to go for a kale-chicken soup because I saw one of the kale leaves had turned yellow and I wanted to use the rest of the kale before it turned.

Kale likes a certain heartiness and needs some acid so that it does not become bitter. So, I added a can of diced cooked tomatoes for the acid. I used canned only because I had already used the fresh tomatoes I bought. Otherwise I would have added two tomatoes, chopped. I added some sweet potatoes julienned on the mandoline and then cut into smaller thirds. I rinsed, removed the stems and cut the kale in narrow strips. I tossed this all in at the same time and grated about 1 tsp of fresh nutmeg over the pot. The aroma was heavenly.

In about 20 minutes it was done and ready to serve. On day two, the aroma and heady flavor is even more intense.

This makes about 12 servings, so you will have to store it in containers.