Influenced by whom you wonder? Mollie Katzen again. While everyone else I know is loving up and “Tackling Mark Bittman” (blog hop anyone?), I remain in a state of Bittman ignorance and find kinship with my old pal Mollie instead.

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I had no idea what to make tonight. All I knew is that I wanted to make something different. I decided to take the first cookbook that jumped out at me and work my way through them until I found something that a) I would like to eat, and b) I could make with the ingredients I had on hand. Luckily, I only had to make my way through 40-some pages of Mollie Katzen’s The Enchanted Broccoli Forest before I found Influenced Vegetable Stew.

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It’s a strange name for a recipe and Mollie doesn’t provide any sort of illumination on the matter except to say “…similar to a Greek ‘stifado,’ but with Mexican-style seasonings.” I have no idea what a stifado is (do you?), but the seasonings looked intriguing so I thought I would give it a try.

Oh good mother I am glad I did. It took about 40 minutes to prepare but it was worth my time. Everyone said it was delicious. Me, my step-son, my kids, and my neighbour whom I gave some to because this recipe makes so, so much. (Hubby wasn’t home to try it). It was so flavourful that my taste buds are already craving it again only a couple hours later.

So here you go. If you have a large family (of 6 or more) and want to try something a little bit different, this recipe is for you.

Influenced Vegetable Stew

3 cups sliced potatoes

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 cups sliced onion

2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon

1 Tbsp cumin

3 Tbsp fresh lemon or lime juice

1 large cauliflower cut into 1″ florets

2 large carrots (I used broccoli)

8-10 medium cloves garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups water

1 Tbsp honey

1 1/2 cups tomato puree/canned crushed tomatoes

2 cups cooked kidney beans (or a 15 oz can, rinsed and drained)

freshly ground black pepper

cayenne pepper to taste

minced fresh parsley

squeezable wedges of lemon or lime


Place the sliced potatoes in a saucepan and cover them with water. Boil until tender. Drain well and set aside. (You can save the water to use later).

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or large wok with a cover. Add the onion and 1 tsp. salt, and sauté over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cumin and sauté for a few minutes longer.

Stir in the lemon juice, cauliflower, carrots, and remaining salt. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, half the garlic, and the water (saved from the potatoes if you remembered). Stir, cover, and cook until the vegetables are just tender (8-10 minutes).

Stir in the remaining garlic, honey and tomatoes (or purée). Cover and cook about 5 minutes more. Stir in the beans, season to taste with black pepper and cayenne. Serve hot over rice topped with parsley and garnished with wedges of lemon or lime.

Shared at Fight Back Friday, Foodie Friday, Food on Friday, Wholesome Whole Foods, Friday FavouritesFresh, Clean and Pure Fridays, and Friday Potluck.

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