This evening I was invited to prepare some kind of vegetarian stew for our towns Main St. Christmas event. The dish needed to be kept warm in a crock pot so I could easily ladle it into cups for customers browsing for Christmas gifts and weekend groceries. As the front door of Natures Harvest swung open it ushered in families of 4 and 5, couples out on the town and a frigid 15 degree wind blowing in behind them. No one refused a cup of piping hot vegetable stew with a dollop of yogurt and before long I was scraping the last of the juice off the bottom of the pot.
This recipe is enough to fill a 3.5 quart crock pot. I first prepared the recipe in a large enamel coated Dutch oven, while the crock pot was warming up, and then transferred the mixture to the crock pot. At that point I walked away and let the pot do the cooking, there was nothing more for me to do. Gotta love it.
You can substitute some chicken sausage for the vegetarian version if that is more to your liking, and make sure to cut the vegetables in bite size pieces, not to big or to small. I did use some red wine I had sitting around, really just to get rid of it, and it balanced the sweetness of the vegetables very nicely. The store was running a special on a new product, canned peeled baby tomatoes, so I threw those into the mix and the combination of flavors worked really well together. The cumin and fennel seeds are my present obsession, so naturally they started the whole ball rolling. To make it more belly filling serve the stew over some cooked brown rice and top it with a teaspoon of plain yogurt. Then sit down to a big bowl of steaming delight and let your senses do the rest.