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Orange-spiced Sweet Potato and Spinach Stew with Sugar Plum

Persian Allspice

(enough for 2 batches of stew)
1 tb Coriander seeds
1 ts Cardamom pods; up to 2
1 tb Cumin seeds
2 ts Cinnamon
2 ts Turmeric
2 ts Ground ginger
1/2 ts Ground cloves
1/4 ts Black pepper
Grind everything together in a spice grinder until it becomes a fairly uniform powder


The Stew

2 tb Vegetable oil and/or butter; up to 3
3 c Chopped onion
3 tb Persian Allspice; (above)
2 ts Salt 2 1/2 tb Minced garlic
8 c Peeled and cubed sweet potatoes or yams (about 3 pounds)
3 c Orange juice
1 1/2 c Sugar plums or prunes (fresh or dried) pitted and sliced
1 lb Fresh spinach cleaned and stemmed OR 1 10-ounce package frozen leaf spinach; defrosted


Preparation time: 1 hour (15 minutes of work) Yield: 6 to 8 servings


* Make the Persian Allspice ahead of time. If you use an electric spice grinder, this will take just minutes.


* Get the rice going before you begin.


* You can use peaches or nectarines in place of the sugar plums or prunes.


1) Heat the oil and/or melt the butter in a large, deep pot or a Dutch oven. Add the onion, Persian Allspice, and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and saute for about 5 minutes over medium heat.


2) Stir in the garlic, sweet potatoes or yams, orange juice, and remaining salt. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the pieces).


3) Add the fruit and the spinach, and give it a good stir. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes longer.


4) Serve hot, over basmati rice.


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