If you've been feeling drained or ill and are craving an immune boost-have I got a recipe for you! I'm usually a very by-the-book recipe follower, but this latest round of sniffles and such got me to whip up an improvised stew full of nutrient dense, immune system fortifying goodies. Now I wouldn't say it cured me overnight, but, it sure helped me get back on my feet.
There are several ingredients that are key to this stews potency and warrant a little further discussion:
Garlic-contains many unique sulfur compounds which have antibiotic, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties and has an overall stimulating effect on the immune system.
Ginger-helps activate white blood cells that are responsible for fighting germs and infections. It is also a powerful anti-oxidant.
Mushrooms- also helps activate white blood cell production, aiding in the removal of toxins. Shitake mushrooms in particular contain vitamins, minerals and amino acids that aid your immune function.
Kale - high in fiber, iron, and calcium, tons of phyto-chemicals
Miso-high in protein, manganese, vitamin K, and it is a powerful source of lactic acid and lactobacillus which are immune boosting probiotics.
Adzuki Beans- high in fiber and protein
Even with such powerhouse ingredients, I was a little leery of "free-styling" it. But that's exactly what I did, and I hope you enjoy the end result as much as I did. Here's the how-to...
Sommer's Fortifiying Superfoods Stew
What You'll need AKA ingredients
1-3 TBSPS sesame oil (toasted sesame oil is tastiest)
1 medium sized yellow onion, chopped
15-20 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped or minced - to your preference
grated or chopped ginger - apx 1-2 inches of ginger root peeled or several tablespoons
a dozen or so medium sized mushrooms, wiped with a damp cloth, stems removed and quartered
4 stalks of celery, chopped
1 medium sized yam or sweet potato, skin on, chopped into 1/2 cubes
6 cups of liquid ( I used 2 cupd of water, 2 cups of organic veggie broth and 2 cups of water mixed with a TBSP of miso paste)
1 cup of dry adzuki beans
several small pieces of kombu
1 bunch of kale, deveined and chopped into bite-sized pieces
Let's make this happen...
If you can, pre-chop/prep all your ingredients, so you can cook with ease.
First, heat 1-2 TBSPS of the sesame oil in a large pot or stock pot if you have one. When the oil has warmed up, add your chopped onion and sauté for a few minutes, letting the onion soften a bit and begin to become translucent. Before the onions get too soft, add in your celery, garlic, ginger, and cubed yam. At this point you may want to add a little bit of water or veggie stock into the mix, just to keep things from sticking as you put a bit of a sauté on your veggies. Give it all about 7-9 minutes to soften up and then add the mushrooms, cooking for another 3-4 minutes.
At this point, it's time to add your beans! Much like lentils, adzuki beans don't require pre-soaking and cook relatively quickly. If you have a hard time digesting beans however, you're totally welcome to pre-soak your adzukis for 2-3 hours, drain them and discard the soaking liquid and then add them to your stew at this point. I did NOT pre-soak my adzukis, so I would suggest watching cooking times and liquid amounts more closely if you have pre-soaked your beans. I suspect that if you have pre-soaked your beans, you will likely need to add less liquid and cook for a shorter period of time.
That said, add your beans, add your liquid and add your kombu bits. Kombu essentially absorbs the sugars that create digestive gas, while at the same time providing trace minerals to your stew - it's a win-win. Turn the heat up and let everything come to a roiling boil. At this point, turn your heat down to a simmer and cover your pot. Set a timer for 20 minutes and then go read a book or have a dance party in your living room (May I suggest a song?)
Check the stew after 20 minutes, give it a stir, and then let it cook for another 15-25 minutes. Don't be afraid to taste test as you go to check for seasoning preferences and doneness. When you believe yourself to be in the last 5 minutes of cooking, stir in your kale and let it wilt with the lid on the pot.
You're done! You did it! Awesome job! So now's the best part - you get to eat it! Two pieces of advice: First - remember to remove the kombu pieces and Second - you might really like to drizzle a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil in each bowl when you're dishing this stew up to serve. Personally I really like both the flavor and just that little bit of extra fattiness provided by the oil, but it's totally at your discretion!
So there you have it! I don't wanna say it's better than Bubbe's chick-un noodle Jewish penicillin, but............I'm a big fan!
Namaste and Bon Appetit yogi friends!