After my recent reading of Mark Bittman's Food Matters, I have realised that one huge way for me to impact climate change is to eat less meat. I was amazed to learn that more greenhouse gasses are produced by livestock than by transportation or anything else except energy production. So Bittman gave some advice about eating meat: eat less, and "rely on meat for its flavor, not heft". Meat is no longer the star of a meal, but a supporting ingredient that adds flavour or texture.
In this vein I have been making dishes lately, such as this sweet potato stew, that use meat to enhance a mostly vegetable dish. A mere two rashers of bacon in this big stew (it serves 4) deepens its taste and makes it so much more satisfying. Ant was pleased with the taste of it as well. (I have overheard him passing on my recent meat discoveries to another bloke; I was so proud!)
Sweet Potato and Bean Stew
1 t olive oil
2 rashers smoked bacon, snipped
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 red chilli, finely chopped (deseeded for a milder stew)
1 T fresh ginger, minced
600 g (about 2) sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes
1/2 t cumin seeds or ground cumin
1 t turmeric
1 c (250 g) cooked red beans (or any other variety you have available, for example, canned kidney beans)
1 can (400 g) chopped tinned tomatoes
3 c (750 ml) vegetable stock
Heat the oil in a large saucepan and cook the bacon.
Add the onion, garlic, chilli, and ginger and cook for about 5 minutes, until softened.
Add the sweet potatoes, cumin, turmeric and stir for a minute to coat everything in spices and oil.
Add the beans, tomatoes, and stock. Bring to the boil and simmer until the sweet potato is soft, about 20 minutes.