While I'm a big fan of Mexican food and the spices and flavors that go with it I also love trying new flavors and foods from all parts of the World. You definitely will get out of your 'comfort zone' of cooking with this very flavorful stew from Ethiopia. Roasted veggies are slowly simmered in a thick and creamy sauce of almond butter and 'exotic' yet not hard to find spices. In fact, you probably already have most of them somewhere in the back of your spice cabinet!
That's what this month's Recipe Redux challenge is all about, spooky spices. Have you ever bought a certain spice and used it once or not at all wondering what to do with it? I sure have. There's a 12 step program called "How to resist the urge to buy every single spice you see just because it looks or smells interesting." that I could probably benefit from.
So, while the peanut butter was an important addition for the cultural flair of this dish, I felt it smothered the other wonderful spices going on. I've made this several times and I like to use Almond Butter instead of peanut butter in this dish because it is much milder and very creamy and complimenting to the other flavors. Make sure to whisk in a small amount of the hot liquid into the almond butter so it will incorporate into the dish better. You don't want to have big chunks of peanut butter in some bites........ or do you?
I also have used canned, stewed tomatoes in lou of fresh when not in season which taste just as good. Who knew tomatoes and almond butter would go good together in a dish? Craziness!
What spices are hiding out in your spice cabinet that you rarely or have never used?
SERVES 6 TIME 60 MINUTES
1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
1 t olive oil
1 t olive oil
1 onion, minced
2 carrots, peeled, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium sweet potato, peeled, cubed
1/2 c red lentils
1/4 t chili pepper
2 cardamom pods, or 1/2 t ground
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t fresh ground pepper
3 whole cloves
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
2 c chicken broth or water
1/4 c almond butter
salt to taste
1/4 c chopped peanuts
2 scallions, chopped
2 c arugula
Putting it all together:
Toss the cauliflower in the olive oil, add salt and roast in a 350 oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the cauliflower is lightly browned turning once half way through.
In a large pot, heat the olive oil, add the onion, garlic, carrot, sweet potato, lentils, chili flakes, and the rest of the spices. Saute the vegetables until the onions are golden brown and translucent, stirring often.
Add the tomatoes and cook until the tomatoes are broken up.
Add the broth, cover and cook on medium-low until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove the whole cinnamon stick and whole cloves from the pot and discard.
When the cauliflower is ready add it and the almond butter (combined with a few tablespoons of hot broth to break it up) and stir well to combine. Add salt to taste.
Toss the arugula with the lemon juice and season with salt.
Serve garnished with scallions, peanuts and the arugula.
You may also put everything (except the almond butter) in a crock pot and cook for 6 hours on low. Add the peanut butter in the last half hour. Roasting the cauliflower will give it better flavor as well.