Sexy Ugly Stew (aka Split Pea and Yam)

Have you ever heard the phrase “sexy ugly”?  Come on, you know what I’m talking about.  How else do people describe Mick Jagger?

If you haven’t heard of this phrase before, then thank Urban Dictionary for helping us both out:  “Someone who is not conventionally good-looking (or any kind of good-looking in some cases), but possesses an appealing personality, style, or talent, and is thus considered sexually attractive by many.”  Now you know what sexy ugly means.

Well, this stew is sexy ugly.  

I have to admit that I never understood that phrase.  Honestly, what the heck is sexy ugly?  Is that a complement or criticism?  Should one be flattered or alarmed?

But today while standing at my stove staring into this pot of mashed up split peas it all became clear.  This stew is not what I would call pretty.  In fact, should you serve this at your next party or potluck, I highly doubt that it will have guests lined up wanting to try it.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s not hideous.  It’s just not appealing.  And us Americans tend to have something against mushy green things as it is.

If you didn’t know any better, you would probably agree that this stew is, well, kinda ugly.  That is, until you take your first bite.  That’s when you discover that you underestimated this little stew.  That the stew is, in fact, sexy.

The heartiness of the peas combined with the intensity of the yams and melded together with the sweetness of maple syrup?  It’s sexy. Well, sexy ugly.

Serves 4. 

1 1/2 cups split peas
2 yams, diced 
3 stalks celery, chopped
5-6 cups vegetable broth
2 medium yellow onions, diced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh spinach, chopped
2 Tbs maple syrup
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried sage
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Add a little olive oil to a large pot and turn to medium-high heat. Saute your onions for 5 minutes.  Add your celery (and a little more olive oil if necessary) and saute for another 5 minutes.  Add your garlic and saute for another 2 minutes.

Next, add your vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Add your split peas, yams, bay leaf, sage and basil.  Cover, turn the heat down, and let it simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add your spinach and maple syrup.  Let it simmer for an additional 15 minutes.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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  1. says

    Well – it definitely doesn’t look uber sexy. I’ve made food like that before. It looks like a deer just dumped on my plate, but it tastes delicious. And the taste is the more important part, if you can brave the first bite. I may have to try this soon. I’ll agree – Mick Jagger could be considered sexy ugly.

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