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Author Notes: This comforting, creamy winter stew will make your toes curl with delight as the flavors satiate every wanting you desire. More beautiful the second day as the roasted beets bleed ribbons into the pumpkin base. Developed last Valentines Day as I stood in my kitchen looking at all my late winter squashes and root vegetables yet to be eaten.
How would I move this bounty along? It was just me now. Two divorces and my children now grown. Reflective and tinged with melancholy this stew was born and at that moment in time it coddled my tender soul.
Something more festive, this stew would do well as the centerpiece on a holiday table. Just change up the name to Christmas Ribbon Stew with the same garnish. For me mine was served individually as the name implies to assuage the heart of a tender soul. My ingredients are all fresh, organic, and locally sourced as much as possible. —Kara Lee
- 1 Large leek minced
- 2 Stalks of celery with leaves minced
- 1 tablespoon Coconut butter or ghee
- 1 Bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon Fresh ginger
- 1/2-1 teaspoons Good quality salt
- 1/2 tablespoon Freshly ground pepper
- In a large heavy soup pot melt the coconut oil or the ghee. Add the leeks, celery, and salt. Over medium heat sauté all until translucent.
- Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Sauté just a moment more and remove from the heat to rest.
Prep the squash and root vegetables
- 1 Med Organic Kaboch squash
- 2 Large Sweet potatoes
- 4 Large Carrots
- 3-5 Small Turnips with tops
- 3-5 Medium Beets with greens
- 6-8 cups Water
- 1 13.5 oz Can of Native Forest unsweetened organic coconut milk
- 1/2 cup Organic dried cranberry's
- 1/2 cup Lightly roasted walnuts
- 1 teaspoon Umeboshi plum vinegar (Asian section)
- 2 teaspoons Olive oil
- 1/2 Fresh squeezed lime
- 1/2 - 1 tablespoons Dark Agave syrup
- 1-3 cups Additional hearty greens to have a total of 5 cups. Kale, chard, etc.
- Rinse, halve, and deseed the Kabocha squash. Peel one half and cut into one inch chunks and add to resting soup pot. Cube the other half without peeling and put into a large mixing bowl.
- Gently scrub both sweet potatoes with a natural vegetable brush. Peel and cube one into one inch chunks and add to the soup pot. Cube the other without peeling it and add to the mixing bowl.
- Gently scrub the carrots with a vegetable scrub brush. Trim the ends and then chunk as well into one inch chunks. Split in half. Put half in the soup pot and half into the mixing bowl.
- Next toss the chunked vegetables in the soup pot with the leeks, celery, and spices to coat. Add water to cover by 2 inches and add the 13.5 oz. can of Native Forest organic coconut milk. Stir the soup pot to combine all the ingredients. Return to the heat and bring to a gentle boil. Immediately reduce to a low simmer and cover with a heavy lid. If you have a flame diffuser place it underneath the pot so as to prevent any scoulding and cook for approximately 45 minutes to an hour until the vegetables are tender. Stirring occasionally.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Trim the greens off the turnips and beets and set aside. Scrub the beets and turnips well. Do not peel. Cube into one inch chunks and add to the bowl with the other unpeeled chunked vegetables. Drizzle with the olive oil, 1/2 tsp of the salt and 1/4 tsp of the pepper. Toss, spread onto a lined cookie sheet and pLace into a hot oven for 25-35 minutes. While your vegetables are roasting and the stew is stewing we'll prepare the garnish. Grab a large mixing bowl and take all the greens, submerge in water, drain, pat dry, destem, tear into bite size pieces and place in the bowl. Drizzle with 2tsp of olive oil, the umeboshi vinegar, lime, and agave. Toss to coat and with clean hands massage the greens, let it rest 5 or so minutes and repeat. Set aside. Check your roasting veggies if necessary with a fork for tenderness. When they are done, looking a little crisp around the edges and tender on the inside remove to cool. On another small cookie sheet spread the walnuts to lightly toast. It will only take a minute or two. You'll be able to smell them, just fragrent. Be careful. Walnuts can over brown quickly and will become bitter. When the walnuts are done remove from the oven and remove from the hot cookie sheet to cool. Then toss the walnuts and the dried cranberries with the massaged greens and place in a beautiful serving bowl.
- When the stewing vegetables are tender remove the bay leaf and blend the stew with a submersion blender until smooth and velvety or you can use a countertop blender. If you do decide to use a countertop blender let the stew cool so as not to accidentally get burned by the steam.
- All depending what effect your going for you can serve this stew as the most beautiful center piece on a holiday table or in individual soup terrains garnished and ready to serve. I have done both. One where I put the blended stew in a large sort of shallow terrain and I pour the roasted vegetables right in the center so they look sort of like a mountain coming up from the middle and the red beet juices bleed into the soup and as you serve it it makes more and more ribbons even more beautiful the next day... And the I put the garnish of greens beside for each individual to garnish themselves or if I'm feeling micromanagy I'll garnish with the greens myself:) This stew will tantalize your tastebuds with all the sweet of the agave, sour and salty of the umeboshi, and savory creaminess of the pumpkin:) Enjoy every bite!