Since having a baby 4-1/2 months ago, I’ve been doing a lot less meal planning and recipe following and a lot more improvising. (I’ve also eaten a lot fast food, but we won’t talk about that). Most of my improvisations aren’t noteworthy, but every once in a while something amazing happens, like ham and sweet potato stew.
As I was thinking about what to make for dinner a couple of nights ago, I remembered I had leftover ham in the fridge. There was also a nice large sweet potato begging to be used. Ham and sweet potatoes sounded like they might taste okay together, and then the sweet potato would get eaten instead of sprouting or rotting. (Oh, sweet potatoes, why do I always neglect to cook you?) And so, ham and sweet potato stew was born.
By the time the stew was ready, the baby needed to be put to bed. I told Zach to go ahead and eat without me. After a few minutes, he called from the other dining, “This is really good!” When Zach says soup or stew is “really good” and not just “okay” or “fine,” it must be exceptional. When I tried the stew later, I couldn’t help but agree. But don’t take my word for it! Try it for yourself and see what you think.
Ham and Sweet Potato Stew
(Note: most of the quantities are approximations)
- 1-2 T cooking oil (I used coconut oil)
- 1 small-medium cooking onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 2-3 cups cooked diced ham
- 2 c. chicken broth
- 1-2 cups whole wheat rotini (or pasta of your choice—you could substitute quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet, or gluten-free noodles to make this gluten free)
- 1 tsp oregano
- 2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp ginger
- 2 c. chopped spinach
Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally for a couple minutes until onions are soft and glassy looking. Stir in garlic.
Add in sweet potato, ham, broth, and as much water as you need so that the ham and sweet potatoes are mostly submerged. Cook, stirring occasionally, until sweet potatoes chunks start to get a little bit soft (how long you wait depends on the cooking time of the noodles you use in the next step).
Add in noodles, oregano, basil, ginger, and enough water to submerge most of the contents of the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for the duration specified on the noodles and then check noodles for doneness.
Once the noodles are fully cooked, remove from heat. Stir in spinach and serve immediately.