"Perhaps the most impressive of all the cookbook blogs are the three devoted to the 2004 edition of Gourmet magazine's "The Gourmet Cookbook" -- all 5¼ pounds and 1,300-odd recipes of it. Befitting this culinary Everest, all three writers are overachievers in their professional lives."

--Lee Gomes, The Wall Street Journal, May 28, 2008
"I should have told you before how much I've been enjoying reading your thoughts. You seem like such a great cook."

--Ruth Reichl, Editor-in-Chief of Gourmet Magazine, June 8 2008, comment on "Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream".

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Tomato and Lemon

Got a vegetarian in the crowd? Are they expecting the same old cheese pizza from you? Why not surprise the heck out of them with Moroccan Chickpea Stew with Tomato and Lemon?

Like so many stew/bean/pan sautee recipes, this one is elevated by citrus, and not just any old citrus--preserved lemon. OK, I'll admit that preserved lemon isn't exactly a pantry staple for some, but it's so darn easy to make, it should be. Really, it's just cut up lemons in lemony brine. At work I have a bunch floating around in an old plastic nut jar.

Now, fair warning to people who don't like sweet in their savory--this does have currants in it so it's more in that curry-with-chutney flavor world than a southern European chickpea stew. And the recipe suggests serving it on cous-cous, but it isn't necessary at all, unless you just need a little extra starch in your life.


Anonymous said...

I adore Moroccan stuff...I found an amazing recipe for Salade Ti├Ęde de Potimarron et Haricots Blancs that called for ras-el-hanout as a spice...I ordered some and I LOVE it! You should try the recipe. I had a bit of a time trying to find the potimarron, but finally did at Whole Foods, and I think I have a new favorite squash...

For the beans:
- 120 grams (2/3 cup) dried white beans, soaked overnight in cold water
- one bay leaf
- one bushy stem fresh rosemary (or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary)
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt

For the squash:
- one medium (about 1 kg, or 2.2 pounds) potimarron, a.k.a. Hokkaido squash or kuri squash (substitute butternut, buttercup, delicata, or kabocha squash)
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- a drizzle of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon ras-el-hanout (a complex Moroccan spice blend; substitute a good curry powder, or a mix of ground cumin, cinnamon, ginger, turmeric, coriander, and pepper)
- fine sea salt

For the dressing and topping:
- 1 tablespoon almond butter (the light brown kind, made from non-blanched almonds)I used tahini here and it was wonderful.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon orange flower water
- 1 teaspoon sherry or balsamic vinegar
- fine sea salt, freshly ground pepper
- 2 to 3 tablespoons pinenuts, toasted
- the leaves from a small bunch cilantro, roughly chopped
Serves 2 to 3; the recipe can be doubled.

Rinse and drain the white beans. Place them in a medium saucepan with 75 cl (3 cups) cold water and the bay leaf. Set over medium-high heat, cover, bring to a simmer, and cook for 1 hour, or until the beans are tender, but before they get mushy. 45 minutes into the cooking, add the rosemary and coarse salt. When the beans are cooked, drain, discard the bay leaf, and keep warm.
While the beans are cooking, roast the squash. Preheat the oven to 220°C (430°F). Cut the squash into eight wedges, deseed, scrape, and peel each wedges, and cut the flesh into 2-cm (3/4-inch) cubes. Place the squash and the garlic in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and 1 teaspoon vinegar, sprinkle with ras-el-hanout and salt, and toss to coat well. Bake for 30 minutes, or until tender and slightly browned, stirring halfway through.
In a medium salad bowl, combine the dressing ingredients, from almond butter to vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and thin with a teaspoon or two of water if necessary. Add the cooked beans, stir delicately to coat; add the roasted squash, and stir even more delicately. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Divide between serving plates, sprinkle with pinenuts and cilantro, and serve, slightly warm.

Melissa Bach Palladino said...

That looks delicious!! Thank you so much for taking the time to post it--I'll be on the lookout for those ingredients. Not many ethnic markets in Gloucester, MA....

Anonymous said...

Girl, you are looking GOOD in that new fancy picture!!!!!!