Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Moroccan Stew

This bright, yellow Moroccan Stew warms you from the inside out much like sunshine on your back on an otherwise damp, grey day. The beans and cumin's earthiness could sit heavy on the palate, but the sweetness of the raisins and cinnamon juxtaposed with the garam masala's spiciness makes this dish a party for the mouth.

That isn't to this stew is a light meal. It is incredibly filling  - likely due to the abundance of fiber and carbohydrates it provides. In fact, I ultimately decided against serving it with brown rice or plain yogurt as I didn't think it needed additional bulk.

If you need to buy red lentils, Indian/Moroccan spices or even non-local okra, I recommend Laxmi Palace in Richmond. The prices there are great and they have lots of items you will not find at a typical grocery store. Just be prepared when you go for the intense smell of curry.

Moroccan Stew
Slightly adapted from Spicy Red Lentil and Chickpea Stew (Paula's Moroccan Lentil Stew) at Kayln's Kitchen with reference to Moroccan Chickpea and Vegetable Stew at Everybody Likes Sandwiches and The Flavor Bible
Serves 6-8 (my yield was 7.5 cups) 

1 large Onion, chopped
1 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 teaspoon minced Ginger (I used The Ginger People's.)
1 tablespoon minced Garlic
1 teaspoon ground Turmeric
1 cup diced Green Pepper
1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala (Mine is spicy, so I omitted the cayenne from the recipe.)
1 teaspoon ground Coriander
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground Cumin
6 cups Stock (I used 2 cups of reduced sodium beef stock and 4 cups of vegetable stock.)
1 1/2 cups Red Lentils
1 - 14 1/2 ounce can Chickpeas, drained and thoroughly rinsed
1 - 14 1/2 ounce can Diced Tomatoes in Juice
1/2 cup Raisins
Salt to taste (I used an additional 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt.)

1. Heat olive oil in a heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid (my beloved Le Creuset dutch oven was perfect) over medium heat. Add onions, ginger, garlic, and turmeric and cook stirring often until onions are soft, about 7 minutes
2. Add green pepper, garam masala, ground coriander, ground cinnamon and ground cumin. Cook, stirring occasionally, until green pepper begins to soften.
3. Add the stock, red lentils, canned tomatoes, and rinsed chickpeas and bring mixture to a gentle boil.
4. Once it begins to bubble reduce the heat to a simmer and cover pot with lid. Allow stew to simmer approximately one hour stirring occasionally. About 15 minutes before the dish is done, toss in the raisins so they get plump, juicy and delicious.

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