Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew

Being that the weather here in Minneapolis is barely making it out of the negative digits these days, I decided to make this dish last night to warm myself up. Good news. It worked.

Butternut squash, red potatoes, cumin and saffron cooked together in a stew complimented with crisp preserved lemons and green olives....Mmmmmm...And you know what the best part about this dish is?

The leftovers.

Well, the leftovers and it's simple to make.

The only issue I came across was locating the preserved lemons which I ended up finding at Cooks of Crocus Hill (for you Twin Cities folk). However, they also can be found at Sur La Table. If you don't have either of those stores nearby, you can simply substitute some lemon zest and call it a day.

Now on to the green olives. I don't think they're entirely necessary for this dish to be good, in fact, the next time I make this dish I will more than likely either omit them, or just use a half a cup instead of the whole shebang. Either way, it's your choice...If you love green olives, then knock yourself out!

Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Recipe courtesy Aida Mollenkamp
1 tablespoon Earth Balance vegan margarine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound butternut squash, large dice
3/4 pound red potatoes, large dice
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
Pinch saffron threads, optional, but I HIGHLY recommend them
1/2 preserved lemon, finely chopped
1 cup brined green olives (recommend: Cerignola)
Basmati rice, prepared for serving
Fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, for garnish
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish

Heat butter and olive oil in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight fitting lid over medium heat. When oil shimmers, add onion, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are aromatic and onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add squash and potatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat, and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add broth, chickpeas, tomatoes and their juices, and saffron, if using. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until squash is fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in preserved lemon and olives. Serve over basmati rice garnished with cilantro and almonds.

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