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 StewAdapted From Smitten Kitchen
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.
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.