Moroccan food is among my favorites when we eat out. For one, it is never hard to find vegan dishes in Moroccan restaurants because the cuisine of that region is rich in vegetables and grains and legumes and spices. Then there are the candles, the belly dancing, and all those other fun trimmings. What’s not to love?
But if you are willing to forego the extras, it can be quite easy to whip up a divine Moroccan dinner right in your own kitchen. Better, you can make it really healthy.
This Moroccan Chickpea Stew that I’m serving up today is just such a fragrant concoction, and I’ll bet you will want to eat every last drop of it right at one sitting.
I love chickpeas– they’re quite possibly my most adored legume– and I sometimes really, really crave them. As I was this weekend, when I decided to make this stew. I use a number of veggies in this stew, so it makes for a complete meal with some couscous, bulgur, rice or even some polenta, which is what I served it with.
The chilli paste I stir into the stew at the tail end is called Harissa, and it is a traditional North African paste that is just bursting with flavor. Don’t skip it, because it really makes a huge difference.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas, soaked for a few hours or overnight, then cooked until tender in a pressure cooker or on the stovetop.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 2 red bliss or yellow potatoes, diced
- 2 carrots, finely diced
- 20 cherry tomatoes, halved, or about 5 plum tomatoes, quartered
- 1 zucchini, finely diced
- 1 green pepper, finely diced
- 1 tbsp coriander + 1 tsp cumin seeds, ground into a powder
- ½ tsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp thyme, remove leaves from stems and run a knife through them.
- For the Harissa paste
- 15 red chilies, soaked for about 2 hours and then drained
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp cumin seeds + 1 tsp coriander seeds, lightly toasted, then powdered in a spice grinder.
- Make the Harissa paste by putting all of the Harissa ingredients in a food processor and process until fairly smooth. You can freeze the remaining paste in an air-tight jar.
- In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add the onions.
- Fry until the edges are browned. Add the ginger and garlic and saute another minute.
- Add the chickpeas and about 2 cups of liquid. Add tomatoes, coriander-cumin powder, potatoes, turmeric and salt to taste.
- Cover and cook about 20 minutes.
- Add the thyme, carrots, zucchini and green peppers. Cook another 10 minutes until all the vegetables are tender.
- Check salt. Stir in 2 tbsp of the Harissa paste (recipe follows).
- Serve hot.
Here’s Freddie out for a leisurely morning walk. He loves to walk really, really slow, taking his time to sniff every calling card he finds along the way. Strange, those dogs.
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