Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

It’s started to snow, and my first winter in the Midwest feels like it’s officially begun. I used to be able to get by with thick sweaters layered under a windbreaker, but that won’t do here.  Over the holidays I acquired a warm puffy coat with lots of pockets, and was pleased to be able to snuggle into its insulated depths. Some 1/4″ sheet metal screws drilled into old running shoes used to keep me steady in the slush, but now I have a pair of jangling snow cleats that are more appropriate for this weather. So now I suppose I’m ready for the frosty months ahead.

But I hadn’t yet made soup, and it was time. I love a simple root stew, chunky, the kind that you can eat with a fork it you really wanted to. Only a few ingredients can make an incredibly filling and comforting meal.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Speaking of few ingredients, I am trying to be more budget conscious when I cook (no promises though) 😇😈. We need to be saving a little money now, and I feel like many families experience the same after the holidays. This soup is wallet friendly, and both hearty and healthy.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

This soup is good and spicy, kind that warms in you in more ways than one, the kind that makes you sweat just a little. The key element here is a single plump chipotle pepper plucked from a can. One little guy flavors the whole pot. Chipotle peppers are one of my treasured soup ingredients, but I often only use one at a time. I freeze the rest, either wrapping them individually in plastic, or stuffing them in an ice try.

I crumpled queso fresco over top, but you totally don’t have to. Since we’re going with the budget theme here, I encourage you to use any cheese you have on hand. Some traditional Mexican soups are also served with cream stirred in, though I have never liked this.  But if it sounds like something you’d enjoy, try stirring in some Greek yogurt. The cheese topping is the only animal-derived ingredient in this dish, so skip it to make it a vegan meal. Feel free to trade it in for some cashew cream, or even a delicate drizzle of tahini.

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Spicy Root Vegetable Stew

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 3-4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup finely diced purple onion
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 2 russet potatoes
  • 5 medium carrots (about 1/3 lb worth of carrots)
  • 1 chipotle pepper from a can, plus 1 tbsp of the can juice
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups unsalted vegetable broth
  • salt to taste
  • to serve
  • crumlbed queso freso (of whatever cheese you have on hand)
  • warm corn tortillas, optional

Instructions

  1. Place the onion, the garlic, and 1/2 cup of the broth in a pot over the lowest heat setting. Cover. Allow to cook while you prepare the rest of the ingredients (about 5 minutes)
  2. Scrub and dice the potatoes and peel and slice the carrots. Add to the pot with another 1/2 cup of broth. Raise heat to medium and cook for another 12 minutes.
  3. After 12 minutes, chop up the chipotle and add it to the pot with the tbsp of juice, the can of crushed tomatoes, and a full cup of broth. Cover once more.
  4. After about 23 more minutes (aka you are approaching the 40 minute mark of cooking, total), add the last cup of broth and allow to simmer for a minute or two.
  5. Remove from heat. Add a little salt to taste.
  6. Serve with love and cheese.
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