Despite never having been to Morocco (something I hope to remedy soon!), I love Moroccan food. This stew is warming and hearty on a cold winter day. Funnily enough, yesterday’s New York Times just featured a similar stew as well, so apparently, I’m not the only one who craves Moroccan food on a cold day.
This vegan stew is wonderful when you want to enjoy complex flavors—but also need something quick and easy to prepare – my cooking mantra! Often I find that recipes for Moroccan food—at least the ones I have found online—overdo the sweetness, which comes from cinnamon, and often apricots and/or raisins as well, while foregoing other spices. I prefer the stew to be more balanced, with the sweetness from the cinnamon and apricots balanced against the spicy harissa and red chillies. However, since this is a one-pot meal, which simmers for a while, only gaining in flavor as it does, feel free to adjust to your own tastes. I love this served with some couscous or quinoa, but it is also perfectly good with any other grains or rice.
Prep. time: 40 minutes
Serves: 2 (with leftovers)
1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic
1″ knob ginger
1 stick cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
1-2 dried red chillies
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. harissa
1 tbsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. turmeric powder
6 dried apricots, chopped
3 cups warm water
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans or half a cup of dried chickpeas soaked overnight (with draining liquid)
16 oz. butternut squash
1/2 preserved lemon (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful coriander leaves for garnish
- Heat olive oil in a deep pan on medium heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add the dried red chilli, cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom pods.
- Once you can smell the aroma of the spices, add the onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until the onions have softened. If the pot gets too dry, add a sprinkling of water.
- Add the spices: the cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric, and harissa. Saute for another minute, making sure that the spices do not burn (again, add a bit of water if necessary).
- Add three cups of warm water and bring to a gentle simmer.
- Add the squash and let simmer until cooked, about 15 minutes. Grate your knob of ginger directly into the pot.
- Once the squash is cooked, add your chickpeas and the draining liquid into the pot. Add the apricots.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper. Adjust spices if necessary.
- Simmer for another 5 minutes. Add your preserved lemon, if you like.
- Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve.