Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew

We love soups and stews here, at Casa de Marji and Kevin. I haven't been cooking all that much lately, because Kevin has beenn working constantly, and it's difficult to cook and clean, when he isn't home for dinner. Yesterday, he has the afternoon off, so I decided to make something warm and toasty for us. This winter veggie stew is quite delicious. It involves a lot of chopping, but miraculously, it doesn't take all that long to prepare. We are not big fans of turnips here, so I just added more carrots, a green squash, and butternut squash to the mix. I'm sure that changed the flavor a little, but it was definitely to our liking! I was also able to use 2 ingredients that I rarely have a chance to break out. First of all, I used caraway seeds, which involved a mortar and pestle. I love being able to make use of my fun toys. Second, the recipe called for Harrissa, which I used in a lentil dal recipe a few months ago. It's a spicy, tangy, Moroccan condiment, that adds an excellent flavor to soups and stews. Anyway, this dish ended up being a really tasty, mellow blend of sweet (from the squash and honey), and a tangy, underlying spiciness from the harrissa. The cumin, caraway, and coriander made a really delicious, but subtle blend. We loved it - especially with the addition of whole wheat couscous. I will definitely be making this again. Hey, who knows? Maybe next time I'll go crazy and try the turnips... But probably not...

Maya wanted to use my "toy," so I gave her some allspice and coriander to crush. All night, she kept saying, "CRUSH! CRUSH!"

Toasted and crushed caraway seeds.

All aboard. One pot. Lots of veggies. Mmmmmm.

The finished product.

Bottom Line: Try this. It's the ultimate comfort food...
Kevin says: 4 OR 5 Bowls... So, 4.5!

Chickpea and Winter Vegetable Stew

Harissa is a fiery spice paste used in Moroccan cooking. Look for it at Middle Eastern markets. I got it at our local Co-op, in NH, but I think they probably sell it at Whole Foods. It's definitely worth buying!

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: 3/4 cup squash mixture, 1/2 cup couscous, and 1 lemon wedge)

2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup (1/2-inch) slices leek (I found frozen, sliced leeks at Trader Joe's! Awesome find!)
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds, crushed
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
3 2/3 cups veggie stock (I used Penzey's Veg Soup Base)
2 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
1 cup (1/2-inch) slices carrot
3/4 cup (1-inch) cubed peeled Yukon gold potato
1 tablespoon harissa
1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound turnips, peeled and each cut into 8 wedges (about 2 medium) (I used a zucchini, and also added more carrots and butternut squash, instead)
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (Meh. I omitted this one.)
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
1 1/3 cups uncooked couscous (Try the whole wheat variety. Get it cheap at TJ's, or in the bulk bins at Whole Foods!)
8 lemon wedges (Omitted)

1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion and leek; sauté 5 minutes. Add coriander and next 4 ingredients (through garlic); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 3 cups Simple Vegetable Stock and the next 8 ingredients (through chickpeas); bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Stir in parsley and honey.

2. Remove 2/3 cup hot cooking liquid from squash mixture. Place cooking liquid and remaining 2/3 cup stock in a medium bowl. Stir in couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Serve with lemon wedges.

CALORIES 264 ; FAT 2.3g (sat 0.3g,mono 1g,poly 0.6g); CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 92mg; CARBOHYDRATE 54.5g; SODIUM 425mg; PROTEIN 8.3g; FIBER 7.5g; IRON 2.4mg

**5 Points, in case you're counting!

Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 2009

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