While I couldn't be at the recent MLFB gathering, the following recipe is one I would, undoubtedly, have loved to bring along. Sweet potatoes are in season in Japan at the moment and can be found in everything from desserts to main courses to appetizers. A little different than their American cousins - deep purple skin with a bright yellow interior that holds its own even after cooking - we've been happily chomping away at the recent harvest from the farm.
Here's my version of this original recipe I found on Epicurious years ago. It's a sure crowd pleaser, and it tastes good the moment it's made. The orange juice base makes it good for warding off colds, too.
Joan's Sweet Potato Stew
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups (or one whole medium to large onion) chopped a bit coarsely
2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger (without is ok, too, but it is a lovely addition)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
2-3 medium to largeish peeled sweet potatoes, cubed
4-6 cloves of garlic, minced
2-3 cups of orange juice
1 15 ounce can of black beans (2 is good, too) rinsed and drained
Heat the oil in the soup pan, throw in the onion, and cook covered until the onion is well-cooked and soft. I find the longer I cook it (without burning it) the better. Throw in the garlic, ginger, and cumin, and cover again. Toss in the cubed sweet potatoes, stir, and add the orange juice. I tend to add orange juice until the mixture is covered and the sweet potato bits are swimming a little. Then I throw in the beans, and let it simmer along until the sweet potatoes are done.