Adapted from Mollie Katzen's Vegetable Heaven
Preparation time: 1 hour (15 minutes of work)
Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Every Persian family seems to have its own cherished recipe for khoresh, or stew. In this easy one, sweet potatoes are steeped in orange juice and deeply infused with the heavenly flavor of homemade Persian Allspice. Serve this over basmati rice.

* Make the Persian Allspice ahead of time. If you use an electric spice grinder, this will take just minutes.

* Get the rice going before you begin.

* You can use peaches or nectarines in place of the sugar plums or prunes.

Persian Allspice (enough for 2 batches of stew)
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 to 2 teaspoons cardamom pods
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Grind everything together in a spice grinder until it becomes a fairly uniform powder

The Stew
2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil and/or butter
3 cups chopped onion
3 tablespoons Persian Allspice (above)
2 teaspoons salt
2 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
8 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes or yams (about 3 pounds)
3 cups orange juice
1 1/2 cups sugar plums or prunes (fresh or dried), pitted and sliced
1 pound fresh spinach, cleaned and stemmed ( or 1 10-ounce package frozen leaf spinach, defrosted)

  1. Heat the oil and/or melt the butter in a large, deep pot or a Dutch oven. Add the onion, Persian Allspice, and 1 teaspoon of the salt, and sauté for about 5 minutes over medium heat.
  2. Stir in the garlic, sweet potatoes or yams, orange juice, and remaining salt. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes, depending on the size and shape of the pieces).
  3. Add the fruit and the spinach, and give it a good stir. Cover and cook over low heat for 10 minutes longer.
  4. Serve hot, over basmati rice.