African Stew with Sweet Potato Leaves
This spicy stew uses my latest Farmer's Market discovery: sweet potato leaves!
I didn't find a lot of recipes out there for sweet potato leaves, but I knew I was on to a good thing with Roy's Sauce a L'Afrique - a spicy, tomato sauce over potatoes and peas. I adapted the sauce recipe quite a bit, so I'm including my version below.
So here's what the leaves look like before cooking:
The leaves are pointy and look like a cross between ivy and purslane, with thick stalks. The taste is hard to describe: sweeter than spinach, although similar in texture, but none of that teeth-squeakiness. While it cooked, it had a faint basil aroma, but the taste was, well, starchy, vaguely nutty for greens. Truth be told: they have their own wonderful distinct taste and texture that I highly recommend.
While I researched sweet potato leaves, I came across this great piece by Marc at Mental Masala . Marc also includes a recipe for stir-fried Sweet Potato Leaves. The Farmer's Market vendor also recommended stir-frying them in a little oil, then adding tomatoes.
I will definitely make this stew again. Other variants I might try are adding coconut milk and eggplant.
African Stew with Sweet Potato Leaves (2-3 servings):
1 large bunch Sweet Potato Leaves, washed leaves and a thick stalks removed
12 oz baby Dutch potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup fresh English peas
I onion, finely chopped
1-2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
water or vegetable broth as needed (I used water)
1 tsp harissa
2 shakes of cayenne
3-4 oz firm tofu, cubed
Put the baby potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until almost tender, then add peas and cook additional 4 minutes. Drain.
Heat the oil in a skillet and cook the onion gently for 3-4 mins until softened. Add the garlic and cook a few more minutes. Add the tomato, tomato paste, harissa, cayenne, tofu, and a little water and cook over low heat, adding water as needed to maintain a sauce. Cook gently for around 8 minutes and add the sweet potato leaves. Cook until leaves are tender. Add the potatoes and peas to the skillet and cook another 2-3 minutes. Serve!