Cooking for one is something I struggle with, when SB leaves for any length of time. This past weekend, he and a group of guys from the family headed north to the mountains to snow shoe and hike in the late winter snow. I stayed home with Mimi, the little Corgi. We puttered around the house and yard, sewing on a quilt top, picking up yard debris, playing with the Frisbee, reading, and stoking the woodstoves.
This warm curried stew was the best I could come up with for my Saturday evening supper. It was super easy to throw together, despite my not having butternut squash or pickled peppers ! It's a Michael Anthony recipe from his cookbook called V is for Vegetables. I have tried several of his recipes from the book and have always been really happy with the results. Thanks, Kate (eldest daughter!) for the Christmas book !
This recipe starts with a hot pan and a bit of olive oil. The cauliflower gets a fast sear to brown it up a bit and begin the softening process. Make no mistake, the dish tastes best when the cauliflower still has 'bite'. So work fast and get it out of the pan and into a side dish to wait it out for later adding to the broth.
The sweet potatoes are hard as rocks when added to the hot pan, but they are cut into bite-sized pieces and cook surprisingly fast when the spicy coconut milk broth is added and they are covered for a simmer. Then, chickpeas and cauliflower are added to the stew and a slow simmer finishes things off. That last simmering let's the spicy flavour develop and makes the house smell divine.
Two bowls later ... I was happy I forced myself to cook a true dinner and not just the usual plate of pasta and herbs that I tend toward, when left on my own. To boot, there were leftovers for two when SB came home on Sunday evening. We steamed rice and had the the stew over top and it was just as satisfying. A keeper recipe, for sure.
Michael Anthony's Cauliflower Curry
adapted to my kitchen pantry
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1/2 head cauliflower, washed and broken into florets
1 small butternut squash, peeled and chopped into bite-sized chunks ( I used 2 peeled sweet potatoes)
1/4 c. raisins (yellow and black)
1/4 c. shallots, chopped (I used sweet white onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 thick slices ginger root, minced
2 small hot pickled peppers, seeded and chopped ( I used 1 serrano chili, chopped seeds and all)
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. curry powder
pinch red pepper flakes
1- 14 oz can whole fat coconut milk
1 c. water
1 c. cooked chick peas
1 lime for squeezing
1 handful of flat leaf parsley for chopped garnish
Making the Dish:
1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over med-high heat. Add the cauliflower florets and sear until golden and slightly browned and blackened at the edges - about 5 minutes. Remove to a large dish to wait.
2. Return the pan to the heat and add 1 tbsp. olive oil, squash or sweet potato chunks and sear until they, too, begin to color at the edges. Then toss in the shallots/onion, garlic, raisins, ginger, peppers, turmeric, curry powder, and red pepper flakes. Toss everything and coat with the spices. Continue cooking until the onion and garlic soften a bit - a couple minutes.
3. Add the coconut milk and 1 c. water, bring to a bubble, stirring to break up the coconut milk fats. Then, reduce the heat to simmer. Cover the pan and let the stew simmer for about ten minutes. Add the cauliflower and chick peas and simmer again until the cauliflower is just done ... must have some bite left to it.
4. While the curried stew simmers, chop parsley and slice a lime.
5. Spoon the stew into serving bowls and squeeze lime juice over top. Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
6. Enjoy leftovers served over steamed rice.