Shortly after graduating college and securing my first apartment all on my own, I decided it was time to finally take the leap and really start cooking. No longer would I sustain life via steamed carrots and George Foreman-grilled chicken, or rice and peas seasoned just-so. No, I was ready to delve into the world of domestication, and after declaring this fact to my family, was given the gift of “set it and forget it”; my first low cooker.
Around that same time, I remember winning some sort of prize draw at a local restaurant, and to my delight, was introduced to the wacky world that combined comedy and cuisine via Janet and Greta Podleski. These two witty ladies are behind the Looneyspoons and Crazyplates cookbooks. It was through my winning a copy of their recipe book way back then that may have kick-started my passionate and ongoing love for time spent in the kitchen. One thing that I am certain of though, is the fact that the Podleski sisters do have a knack for combining the simplest of flavours, in accessible ways, to produce an end product of delectable deliciousness. Another thing I know? That their “NutCrocker” recipe, featuring slow-cooked chicken thighs, was a staple on my recipe rotation for many years. It is now the jump-off point and inspiration for my vegan peanut stew.
Peanut Chickpea Stew
Serves a clan!
2 C salsa
2/3 C crunchy all natural peanut butter
4 T fresh orange juice
2 T soy sauce or tamari
2 T agave
2 T curry powder
1 t powdered ginger
1 t cinnamon
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 large onion cut in spoon-sized chunks
2 medium sweet potatoes, cut in spoon-sized chunks
1 large carrot, cut in discs
2 collard leaves, de-stemmed and chopped
Combine first 8 ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.
Add sweet potatoes, carrots and onions to slow-cooker bowl. Top with sauce. Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours, or low 8-9 hours. Add the collard to the top of the stew in the last half hour of cooking.
To serve, stir in chopped fresh spinach, green onions, if desired. Serve as is, or spoon over rice or quinoa. For even more flair, top with avocado slices or chopped peanuts.