Friday, September 10, 2010

My Kitchen, My World: Morocco- Moroccan Stew

Ready to Globe-Trot? My kitchen is.

I love to travel and I miss it. I've traveled around the U.S. and been to Europe five times, including one summer when my husband and I spent 92 days traveling by train. I'm now a mama to two adorable girls and I want to share my love of travel with them. However, traveling with toddlers simply isn't in the cards right now and when we do travel I'm thinking the happiest place on earth- Disneyland- will be the perfect destination.

So, because I can't travel, my kitchen will! Pack your bags and grab your passport!!

I read about My Kitchen, My World on my friend Katye's blog. Each month they pick a new destination and everyone makes a dish relevant to that country. I'm excited to finally join. I might make a few of my own side trips from time to time, but I eager to see where we're off to each month.

And, my first passport stamp is from.... Morocco!
Moroccan Stew. Yum!
As we entered into the month of September and the weather has cooled, soup has made it's way back onto the menu. I found this stew recipe at Smitten Kitchen and it sounded perfect for this challenge and this week.

I stuck pretty close the recipe, although I opted not to hunt down the preserved lemon or brined green olives as they weren't at the first grocery store I shopped at so I listed those as optional ingredients. The squash was great (even the baby liked it) and I loved the flavor the cinnamon stick gave the stew. Recipes like this a great even with a toddler and baby because we just modified how we served it to them (i.e. as chunks not soup) and they ate it right up.

This was also the first time I've steamed couscous. It felt like a lot of work while I was doing it, but now having done it it seems pretty easy. I'd love to add couscous as a regular part to our menu, even though it goes everywhere when two kids eat it with their hands!
Squash and Chickpea Moroccan Stew
Adapted From Smitten Kitchen
Printable Recipe

1 Tbs unsalted butter
1 Tbs olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, small dice
4 medium cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tsps ground cumin
1 (3-inch) cinnamon stick
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lb butternut squash, large dice
3/4 lb red potatoes, large dice
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes, with juices
Pinch saffron (optional)
1 cup brined green olives (optional)
Fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped, for garnish (optional)
Toasted slivered almonds, for garnish (optional)
Plain yogurt, for garnish (optional)
Steamed couscous, for serving

Heat butter and olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, and cinnamon, and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until spices are aromatic and onions are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add squash and potatoes, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, stir to coat, and cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Add broth, chickpeas, tomatoes and their juices, and saffron, if using. Bring mixture to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer until squash is fork tender, about 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in preserved lemon and olives. Serve over couscous garnished with cilantro, almonds, and yogurt.

Steamed Couscous
2 cups couscous

Place couscous in a fine strainer and rinse under cold running water. Dump couscous onto a sheet pan, sprinkle with salt, and let stand until grains swell, about 10 minutes. Break up lumps with your fingers.
Partially fill a large steamer pot with 1-inch water. Bring water to simmer. Place damp tea towel or cheesecloth in steamer or colander and add couscous. Fold towel over couscous. Steam, covered, over simmering water for 15 minutes.

Pour couscous onto large, rimmed baking sheet and sprinkle with 1/2 cup cold water. Toss with slotted spatula until cool and the water is absorbed. Spritz hands with olive oil and spread out couscous, breaking up any lumps as you go. Set aside for 5 minutes.

Refill pot with enough water to make 1-inch again. Return couscous to colander or steamer and steam, covered, for 10 minutes.


  1. The couscous does seem like a lot of work. Why would you not just do the boil, stir, cover method and dump it in? The rest looks tasty!

  2. Sara- I wanted to give the recipe a try as it was. I was curious if steamed couscous was different from boiled couscous. I'll probably stick to the other method, but after having done this method it wasn't as bad.

  3. This looks delicious! I can also recommend the carrot salad with harissa, feta, and mint from smitten kitchen, except that I haven't found a local source of harissa.

  4. I joined My Kitchen, My World because of Kayte too! Your stew looks really delicious. Chickpeas and couscous are favorites of mine.

  5. So fun to have you at MKMW...I think we are running parallel kitchens! This stew looks delicious, definitely marking this to try soon. I am a big fan of soups and stews this time of year and through winter. Love the sound of all the flavors in this one. I knew nothing about Moroccan cooking before this month except couscous so I just kept trying little things here and there until I could come up with something to post and I was amazed that we loved everything I made and the guys want more of it. I would say that was a successful month! I have no idea what I am going to make for Japan...I checked out a couple of cookbooks from the library, but it all looks so different, etc. and I am just not feeling it yet...yikes. Fun to hear about your travels. My family loves to travel as well...we were married 14 years before children, so we did a lot of it then, then some when the boys were smaller and then swimming took over our lives and now all our travel is for swimming meets! Not complaining, The Swimmer Boy here is going to have a full ride to college next year...YAHOO!!

  6. I have bookmarked this recipe as well and can't wait to try it. Glad to hear you enjoyed it too. :)

  7. This stew looks delicious; I'm glad it turned out well! I've just joined MKMW so I look forward to "traveling" with you :)


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