Spicy Roasted Vegetable Stew

jalapeno chile peppers
This delectable fragrant stew can be varied by adding cubes of cooked lamb near the end of cooking. Another idea is to add chunks of raw red snapper to the pot near the end of cooking until the pieces are cooked through. Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth for a vegetarian stew. Vary the vegetables according to the seasons and add your favourite veggies to the dish. Roasting some of the vegetables deepens and sweetens their flavours. To make it less spicy, remove the seeds from the chilies, or use only one chile with the seeds removed.

2 carrots, chopped
1 medium red potato, chopped in bite-size chunks
2 medium zucchinis, chopped in bite-size chunks
1 red bell pepper, chopped in bite-size chunks
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 whole cloves
1/3 of a cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom pods, bruised
2 tablespoons of butter
1 or 2 jalapeno chile peppers, minced (with or without seeds, to taste)
1 bay leaf
2 inches fresh gingerroot, peeled and minced
1 medium onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
3 lime leaves
1/2 cup green beans, cut in 2-inch pieces
6 asparagus spears, cut in 2-inch pieces
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup chicken broth (or substitute vegetable broth)
1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup cooked lentils
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds

Preheat the oven to 375 F. In a bowl, toss carrots, potatoes, zucchini and red peppers in olive oil. Place on a baking tray and roast for 20 minutes until veggies are slightly brown. Remove and set aside.

In a heavy-bottomed stainless steel soup pot, dry roast cinnamon, cardamom and cloves over medium heat for 2 minutes until are fragrant. Add butter, chilies, bay leaf, ginger and onions and stir-fry until the onions are translucent. Add roasted vegetables, and stir and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add salt, black pepper, turmeric, lime leaves, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes and chicken broth. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender (Add more broth if necessary). Add coconut milk, cooked lentils and mustard seeds. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Recipe submitted by Sylvia Weinstock

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