Recipe: Starry Night Stew

Recipe courtesy of Toddler Cafe Cookbook by Jennifer Carden

Published by Chronicle Books

Starry Night Stew

Stew can be a great way to get healthy foods into your child; potentially objectionable ingredients can be disguised and hidden easily. In South America, it is customary to add orange as a flavoring to black beans because it sweetens them and adds an unexpected and different flavor. You can thin this to a soup consistency by adding more broth or water. For a fun way to serve it up, cut an orange in half, scoop out the flesh, and fill it with stew.

Sprinkle shredded cheese or diced avocado on top. Try to think up silly names that rhyme with stew with your child and they will be laughing so hard they will just eat it up!

Makes 3 servings

  • One 15-ounce can black beans, drained
  • 1 cup frozen sweet potato chunks, thawed
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons tiny star pasta or ditalini
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 orange, zested (optional)
  1. Put the beans, sweet potatoes, broth, and orange juice into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Using a hand blender, puree the soup in the pan briefly, just about 3 seconds, to break up any big chunks of sweet potato. If you don’t have a hand blender, mash the chunks with a fork or potato masher.
  3. When the stew begins to boil again, add the pasta and salt and simmer about 8 minutes, until the pasta is soft. Take off the heat add the zest (if using).
    You can use any kind of bean for this recipe; experiment with different flavors.
Recipe Note:
  • Search out the pasta aisle; there are lots of tiny pastas and rice that you may have never noticed before.
  • Try a cooking condiment like unrefined coconut oil; it is perfect for low-heat sautéing, flavoring rice, and is terrific on a frozen waffle or a slice of toast.
Serves 4

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