Eventually I caved and while I don't remember the circumstances or exactly what I ate, I know I must have liked it or I wouldn't have continued my reintegration into a meat-eating world. My love for vegetables (and the occasional Boca Burgers) has only increased since then and I find myself trying to challenge our family to have at least one strictly vegetarian meal a week. Since it is so hard to fulfill all of the daily vegetable/fruit intake challenges, this is a good start.
As I mentioned before, this past Christmas delivered a bounty of wonderful new cookbooks into my home, one of them being "The Accidental Vegetarian: Delicious Food without Meat" by Simon Rimmer. The first recipe I tried from it was Sweet Potato and Pineapple Stacks. With the help of an old friend, we set out to making this Caribbean flavor-inspired dish and were delightfully surprised. The roasted sweet potatoes alone were divine - neither of us could keep from nibbling on them as we worked - and the the curry sauce would be a savory addition to a plethora of other dishes.
- 1/2 C vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 lbs golden sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into largish bite-sized chunks -- (This can be doubled if you really love 'em.)
- 2 small red chiles, chopped
- handful of fresh thyme
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into 8 slices (keep the juice) -- (A can of pineapple rings also works just fine)
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
- 3 oz blanched okra
- freshly chopped cilantro leaves
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
Ingredients for the curry sauce:
- 3 tbsp curry paste (mild or hot, whatever you've got)
- 1 3/4 C coconut milk
- 1/2 C stock
- Preheat the oven to 425. Heat the oil in a roasting pan, then add the sweet potato chunks. Season well, give them a good shake and add the chiles, thyme and garlic. Roast for about 30 minutes until the sweet potato is soft. Shake about halfway through the roasting time to ensure evenness.
- Brush each of the pineapple slices with oil and cook on a hot griddle pan for a couple of minutes each side until well striped. (We didn't have a roasting pan so into the pan it went!) When they've all been charred, put them in an ovenproof dish with their juice and put to one side.
- To make the sauce, cook the curry paste in a pan for a few minutes to release the flavor, then add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. Add the stock and cook for 5 minutes.
- Heat some more oil in a skillet, add the onion and cook until it starts to brown. Add the red pepper and then the sweet potatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the potato starts to break down.
- Spoon in a little of the curry sauce to bind the mixture, then add the okra and cilantro. Stir it around for another couple minutes.
- Pop the pineapple slices in the oven for a few minutes to warm through. Put a slice of pineapple on each plate, then spoon some of the sweet potato mixtures on top (if you've got them, use small rings to make it neater). Sit another slice of pineapple on top and drizzle some of the curry sauce around the edge.