"I think it's nice that there are all different kinds of lunches and breakfasts and dinners and snacks. I think eating is nice." – Albert from Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell C. Hoban
Now that the evenings are just a bit cooler here in Jerusalem, I can think autumnal dishes – this is one of my favorites. While this is one of my go-to recipes in the winter – it’s hearty and warming – it’s also nice now when new winter squashes reappear in the market, especially those with the streaky, green rind and deeper orange flesh. The spicing is perfect and you can adjust it for heat, and it’s great on the grain of your choice. I often make a rice pilaf with sautéed and seasoned onion, carrot, celery, chopped pickled lemon (add the lemon in at the end of cooking the rice, when you add in the sautéed veggies) and toasted almonds to go under the stew and soak up the tasty sauce, or the same with quinoa. But when there’s really no time, couscous will do just fine.
Winter Moroccan Stew
This is enough for about 12 people with some good leftovers
Adapted from Epicurious – with my thanks – over the years
9 cups cubed pumpkin or other winter squash – don’t do this with sweet potato, it will be too sweet
Note: In late spring, pumpkin is nothing special but by July/August, new varieties reappear in the market here in Israel.
6 cups chunked carrots
8-9 cloves garlic, chopped
4 onions – sliced or chopped
Fresh hot pepper – 1/2 to whole depending on if you like things spicy. (Also okay to just use dried hot pepper flakes)
3 parsley roots or parsnips or turnips or rutabaga – choose your veg based on the season
6 cups chopped zucchini
1 large can chopped tomatoes – 28 oz
1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained. (You could use more if you like)
Salt – 1 tbsp
Pepper – a good few grinds
2 tbsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp coriander
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp cayenne, or other dried hot pepper flakes – to taste
1 tsp saffron or large pinch
Fresh lemon juice
Fresh parsley and/or cilantro to garnish at end about 1/2 cup of each.
Warm oil in large stew pot. Saute onion and garlic until beginning to soften, 3-5 minutes. Add salt, pepper and spices, toasting and stirring frequently so nothing dries out. If you need too, add a bit of water to prevent scorching. Stir in canned tomatoes and a can of water, mixing ingredients together from the bottom. Let the mixture simmer for 5-8 minutes – don’t boil it. It should smell great.
Add in the pumpkin and carrot – bring back to a simmer and let it cook until the vegetables are beginning to soften about 20 minutes. Test the pumpkin as you don’t want to let it fall apart. Add the parsley roots and zucchini. Note: if you use harder vegetables like turnips, add them in after about 10 minutes of cooking. Cook for another 10. Test for salt and stir in the lemon juice. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and/or cilantro.
Serve on a bed of seasoned grains of your choice.