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Recipe Club: Moroccan Vegetable Stew

December 13th, 2006

Courtesy of Wendy Johnson, chef and culinary instructor; our friend Zip; and yesterday’s FOODday………

“North African spices are a great way to perk up winter vegetables. In fact, seasonings are the main event in this Moroccan Vegetable Stew, laced with chiles, saffron, ginger, cumin and cinnamon, and served over hot couscous. Eggplant and fennel are nice additions, but if you don’t have all the vegetables called for, you can make a fine stew just from carrots, potatoes and tomatoes, plus the nutty-flavored garbanzo beans (S&W brand has good flavor).

Harissa, a paste of chiles and garlic used in North African food, gives this dish an extra punch. Any leftover harissa keeps well as a spicy condiment for soups, stir fries or tofu and plain brown rice.

Serve this stew with naan, a type of Indian flatbread available at New Seasons, Trader Joe’s, Indian grocery stores, and supermarkets well-stocked with international foods. Check the bakery aisle as well as the freezer section (look for heat-and-eat versions), and bring it to the table hot from the oven.”

Moroccan Vegetable Stew
Makes 4 to 6 servings

5 cups Imagine No Chicken broth
2 medium onions, cut in 1/2-inch-thick, half-moon slices
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 heaping tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 whole dried red chiles
1 tablespoon granulated sugar, plus extra if needed
4 carrots, peeled and cut into large dice
1 large fennel bulb, stems discarded, bulb cut in
1/2-inch-thick slices
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 Japanese eggplant (or 1/2 of a small globe eggplant),
cut into 3/4-inch dice
1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes (preferably Muir Glen
1/2 bunch cilantro, stemmed and roughly chopped
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and pepper to taste

1-1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
1-1/2 teaspoons chili paste (sambal oelek)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 cup Imagine No Chicken broth
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
Hot cooked couscous
Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

To make stew: Put the broth in a large pot and add the onions, garlic, ginger, saffron, cinnamon, cumin, chiles and sugar. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat; simmer 20 to 25 minutes. Add carrots, fennel, potato, eggplant, tomatoes and cilantro; continue to simmer until all vegetables are tender. Add the garbanzo beans and season with salt and pepper, and
a little sugar, if needed; simmer until beans are heated through.

To make harissa: In a small saucepan combine garlic, chili paste, cumin, broth and cilantro and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.

Put some cooked couscous in the bottom of a bowl and ladle some of the stew over the couscous. Drizzle a little of the harissa over the stew and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Bon appetit!

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