yam and chestnut marbella
photo credit: Debra Stark

For those of you who love the taste of Chicken Marbella (salty-sweet-tangy-briny-garlicky), here’s a new twist: a vegan dish. And I don’t use “vegan chicken,” either, but some of my favorite, whole, wholesome foods: chestnuts and yams. All you need is about 10 minutes to prep. Maybe 9 minutes, if you don’t worry about peeling the yams. I don’t, because I use organic. Use the time you save to sing a song or read a poem. Or dance around the living room. You’ve got to find joy where you can!

Serves 4

8 cups yams, diced into mouth-size chunks1 C dried pitted prunes
1 C recipe-ready peeled chestnuts¼ C pitted salty-briny olives (Nicoise are my faves!)
2 garlic cloves, finely minced2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) + extra
1 Tbsp capers, ideally salt-cured2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 tsp dried oregano1 tsp each good salt + black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet (I use my enamel-coated steel paella pan), toss diced yams with 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Place in oven and roast for about 30 minutes, or until yams are tender and roasty brown in some places.

Meanwhile, in a small pot, combine the remaining ingredients and stir over low heat until the garlic is aromatic, and everything smells so wonderful you want to dive into the pot (3-4 minutes). You may want to add another tablespoon or two of EVOO. Turn off heat. Cover pot. Set aside. When potatoes are ready to come out of the oven, toss them with what’s in the pot. Taste and adjust seasoning. Serve warm. This keeps for about 5 days in the frig. Reheat, covered, in a 350-degree oven for about 15-20 minutes.