You’ll never catch me turning down a chance to cook with plantains. I don’t even know that I like them that much; I’m just enchanted by the idea of using them. Savory bananas? Yes, please. (If you’re new to plantains and want to see them in action, you might enjoy the video about plantains I made a while back.)
But this stew recipe takes the weird-ingredient factor a notch higher, by incorporating another not-too-common one: parsnips, in the form of chips. I always figured parsnips were interchangeable with turnips, since they both end in “nips.” But no, it turns out they’re more like carrots. (Which ends in “rots.”)
Finally, I added my own strange ingredient to the mix. When an author gives me permission to post his or her recipe, I’m careful not to change it (see a Health Blog Helper post about posting recipes to understand why). But with tomatoes not yet in season and one of the worst out-of-season ingredients you can buy, I decided to try Kumatos, based on my sister’s recommendation. (Basically, they’re dark, sweet, perfect tomatoes.)
Add a bunch of other vegetables and some pinto beans, and you have yourself one of the most flavorful, satisfying vegan meals I’ve tried. And Erin couldn’t stop raving about this one, which always makes the husband-cook feel good.
Even better, it’s not much work. Most of the time is simmering time. The parsnip chips take a little extra effort, so you could skip them if you’re feeling lazy, but they’re worth it (they remind me of sweet potato fries a little).
This is really a good meal. Make it for a skeptical, meat-eating friend. I promise they won’t hate it. If they do, they’re weird and you don’t need them as a friend.
Plantain and Pinto Stew with Parsnip Chips
(from Veganomicon, posted with permission)
- 1 recipe parsnip chips (recipe follows)
- 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped finely
- 1 yellow pepper, chopped finely
- 3 jalapenos, seeded and chopped finely
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 8 plum tomatoes, diced
- 1/4 cup cooking sherry (any cooking wine will do, or sub vegetable broth)
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 ripe plantains, peeled, sliced and halved lengthwise, and sliced into half-inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
In a soup pot over medium heat, saute the onions, peppers, jalapenos, and garlic in the oil for 5 to 7 minutes, until the vegetables are softened. Add the tomatoes, sherry, salt, and cumin. Cover and bring to a simmer; let simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are cooked and broken down.
Add the pinto beans and plantains. Cover and simmer for another 20 to 25 minutes. The plantains should be soft and sweet. Add the cilantro and mix in so that it wilts.
Ladle into bowls and stick a few parsnip chips into bowls, like spears.
- 1 lb parsnips (2 medium size)
- 2 tsp or so peanut oil
Bake for 15 minutes, then flip them (use tongs for this). Bake for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. The parsnips should be flecked with black and dark brown. If some are thinner than others they will cook faster, obviously; remove the skinny ones from the baking sheet as they finish baking.
Line them in a single layer on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Toss them around to get the oil over all of them, add a little more oil as necessary.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Peel the parsnips and slice them lengthwise. Place them cut side down and slice into 1/8-inch thick strips, or as close to that as you can get them.
Sprinkle with salt and serve.