Moroccan-Style Squash & Chickpea Stew

Last weekend’s recipe featured roasted squash.  Half of the giant 9 lb Lakota squash we grew this summer to be precise.  The other half went to the fridge waiting for this week’s appearance in a spicy Moroccan-spiced stew.

This is a great and hearty meal when served atop a bowl of rice: a mix of black and sweet brown rice makes for a particularly striking presentation (think Hallowe’en food!)  The recipe also makes lots, so it’s a perfect pot-luck dish that requires minimal effort and provides lots of flavour.

Yield: 13 cups

What you need:

  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 2 teaspoons lightly crushed coriander seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon caraway seed
  • 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 large onions, chopped, 2 cups
  • 8 cups cubed winter squash or pumpkin, 3/4″ to 1″ dice
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 cups unsalted vegetable stock
  • 2 cups unsalted tomato juice
  • 2 tablespoons cashew butter (toasted if possible)
  • 3 teaspoons salt (less if any of the unsalted ingredients are salted)
  • 2 cups unsalted cooked chickpeas
  • 1/4 teaspoon raisins
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • cooked rice to serve

What you do:

  1. Heat a Dutch oven or large heavy-bottomed pot on medium heat.  When hot, add the cumin, coriander, caraway and fennel seeds and dry toast until fragrant and darkened a shade or two.
  2. Add the olive oil, onions, squash, paprika, cinnamon and cayenne and stir to mix and distribute the spices throughout.  Cook, covered, tossing now and again for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Uncover.  At this point some blackened spices will be sticking to the bottom of the pot.  Add the tomato juice to deglaze, scraping the bottom of the pot well to loosen all the roasted, burny and toasted bits back into the sauce.
  4. Add the vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer a half hour or so, until the squash is quite soft and the onion cooked.
  5. Add the cashew butter and salt.
  6. Use an immersion (stick) blender to imperfectly purée the stew leaving lots of large chunks of onion and squash and seeds floating around in a rich and thick sauce.
  7. Mix in the raisins, lemon juice and chickpeas.  Stir and cover, leaving on low heat until flavours are blended, chickpeas are hot and raisins are plump – about 20 minutes.                        DSCN1117
  8. To serve, ladle the stew over a generous helping of rice.

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