African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans

Whilst cleaning out my potato storage drawer (note the “whilst” of procrastination) this is what I discovered:

Yams Gone Wild

Sweet Potatoes (not actually yams, which are grown in Africa, but rarely here) make lovely plants.  Once, I put sprouting sweet potatoes out on the kitchen counter where they grew into pretty little trees. I cut out the sprouting section and planted it in a pot, where, much to my then child’s delight, it grew and grew and grew.

But admiring the random growth of sweet potatoes does not put food on the table – or in a bowl to take to a potluck.  I rescued the remaining sweet potatoes, and went in pursuit of an idea to use them that 1) could be cooked in advance in a crock pot, and 2) could be hauled in said crock pot container to a picnic potluck.

This recipe originally came from Cooking Light, with some fat lowering alterations.  I had great plans to take home the leftovers to bring for lunch, but there was nothing left. The crock pot had literally been scraped clean. So be forewarned.

African Sweet Potato Stew with Red Beans

Cooking spray
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
4 cups  (1/2-inch) cubed peeled sweet potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1 1/2 cups cooked small red beans (I used a 14 ounce can of red beans, drained)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2  teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 (4.5-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
3 Tablespoons peanut butter (I used chunky, but either would work)
6 lime wedges (or ¼ cup lime juice)

Spray a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 5 minutes, adding water to “steam-fry” the onions as needed, until tender.

Place onion mixture in a 5-quart electric slow cooker. Add sweet potato and next 10 ingredients (through chiles). Cover and cook on low 8 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Spoon 1 cup cooking liquid into a small bowl. Add peanut butter; stir well with a whisk. Stir peanut butter mixture into stew. Serve with lime wedges or sprinkle with lime juice if you are taking it to a buffet. Makes 6 servings, at about 5 grams of fat/serving.

HINT: Serving sizes are usually a dinner size portion if the recipe is a main dish or side dish. But at a potluck or buffet, people usually take a scoop of each of the dishes offered, meaning that the number of servings you bring usually at least doubles. So don’t necessarily double or triple the recipe to bring it to a buffet unless you anticipate a large number of people.  Oh, and the fat grams per serving are proportionately lower, although most people at a potluck aren’t counting fat grams – they just want to eat good food.


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I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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