in the depths of winter – a vegan winter stew

January 5, 2013

011“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”

~ Albert Camus

I read this heartbreakingly beautiful Camus quotation in the tagline of somebody’s email last week and have been thinking about it ever since.

It was a frigidly cold day when I found the quote – minus 14° Celsius with a stiff wind and a wind-chill factor that it made it feel more like minus 28°. But it was also searingly, starkly, bitterly beautiful. A bit like Camus’s writing.

I ventured into the cold and snow to take photographs but could not remove my gloves in order to operate my camera. Lake Ontario had not yet frozen and a deep, thick mist was hanging over the water. Off in the distance obscured through the mist, like an impressionist painting, was the ferry and nearby Wolfe Island with its wind turbines.

Even with my gloves on, standing on the edge of Lake Ontario, a high wind blowing towards me from across the water, my hands were soon too cold to keep taking photographs. I left reluctantly.

For those few moments standing there at the edge of the lake in frigid temperatures – entranced by beauty – I felt that invincible summer stirring within me.


chickpea potato artichoke casserole5This vegan potato, chickpea and artichoke stew is the perfect dish for cold winter nights. It’s relatively simple and fast to make and yet surprisingly delicious. Serve it with a green salad and perhaps some crusty rolls. The recipe comes from A Taste of Wintergreen. We’ve served it as a winter dish but it seems equally at home in the middle of summer with a couple of salads. It’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and suitable for vegans and vegetarians – hard to beat that.

Chickpea, Potato, and Artichoke Casserole

Serves 4-6

2 tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp mild curry powder

1 tsp paprika

10 fresh sage leaves, minced or 1 tsp dried sage

1 sprig rosemary, stem removed, leaves finely chopped or 1 tsp dried sage

4 cups organic vegetarian stock

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 large sweet potato, cooked, drained thoroughly and mashed dry (don’t add anything while mashing)

2-19 oz can chickpeas, rinsed and well-drained, or 3 cups cooked chickpeas, well-drained

1-14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

1 tbsp lemon juice

Sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onion is translucent. Stir in the curry powder, paprika, sage and rosemary.

Add the uncooked potato cubes and the stock and bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in the mashed sweet potato. The mixture will instantly thicken. Add a little more stock or water if necessary, or if too liquid, continue cooking gently. Stir in the lemon juice.

Stir in the chickpeas and taste to correct seasonings. Allow another five minutes cooking time in order to heat the chickpeas through. Just before serving, add the chopped artichoke hearts and stir gently.

Serve in a covered casserole dish. Garnish with fresh sage.

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  • Reply Food and Forage Hebrides January 5, 2013 at 11:59 am

    Your casserole looks very delicious – and ideal, as you say, for the extreme cold you are experiencing – the wind chill must be incredible. Wet and very mild here, as ever – a total contrast. Thanks, Tracey

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 5, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      Tracey – it is surprising this winter – colder and snowier than our winters of late – but also so much lovelier. At least for the moment….! This too will come to pass…
      enjoy your mild temperatures – fun to see that you are still in the garden and gathering mussels.

  • Reply Green Door Hospitality January 5, 2013 at 5:48 pm

    Your recipe looks great. I also have to tell you how happy it made me to see you use the Camus quote. It is my favorite quote not only from him, but from anyone! It has always spoke to me.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 5, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      Thanks Kenley – that’s very kind of you. It’s a powerful quote isn’t it – something to hang onto. Happy New Year to you – look forward to your 2013 posts.

  • Reply johnnysenough hepburn January 6, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    This sounds right up my street. Certainly as all of the ingredients go. Especially love artichokes at this time of year. Unfortunately, I can’t find Jerusalem artichokes here. Shame, as they’re so good in soups.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 6, 2013 at 8:39 pm

      Oh – I must find some Jerusalem artichokes and give them a try! Never tried them but LOVE regular artichokes – one of my favourites along with good cheese, good chocolate, good bread… olives, figs….hmmmm – these are a few of my favourite things! *goes off whistling*

  • Reply petit4chocolatier January 6, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Beautiful casserole and quote!

  • Reply Ruth Wood January 7, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Anne and I made this for dinner last night. So delicious and so easy. I will add it to my list of comfort foods.
    When one of my grandsons was introduced to chickpeas, about the same time he was building vocabulary, “chickpeas” didn’t relate so he called them “chicken peas”. Cute, but I guess it wouldn’t be vegan if you made it with chicken peas.

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 7, 2013 at 10:18 am

      I’m so happy to hear you made this and enjoyed it. It’s surprisingly tasty isn’t it – even with regular old-fashioned chickpeas.

  • Reply Tonette Joyce January 21, 2013 at 11:04 am

    I seem to have missed some notifications…what a lovely thought and a lovely recipe. We’re getting a blast of air from your way after unseasonably warm weather.Stay cozy!

    • Reply A Taste of Wintergreen January 21, 2013 at 6:07 pm

      It is wickedly cold here Tonette – and getting colder. I hope we don’t send too much your way! Stay warm and keep cooking…. 😉

      • Reply Tonette Joyce January 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        I have to say that except for a few days here and there,it has been ridiculously warm here; my iris and daffodils have been growing, as have the dandelions. It is very cold today and we are supposed to get pretty low the next few nights…and you can bet, with this weather, the cooking goes on and on…if only to add extra heat in the house!

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