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Moroccan Vegetable Stew

This image courtesy of Jim Scherer

Colorful, aromatic, and sweet, this stew was introduced to the restaurant by Moosewood cook and menu planner Joan Adler after she discovered Paula Wolfert’s books on North African cooking. That was back in the ’70s. Paula Wolfert was joan’s bedtime reading for weeks. Having a big pot of slowly simmering aromatic vegetables in the kitchen is a wonderful thing. Stews with eggplant and sweet potatoes are vulnerable to scorching-frequent stirring, adequate liquid, a tight-fitting lid, low heat, and patience will do the trick. A heavy-bottomed pot or a flame tamer is helpful, too.

NotesSERVING AND MENU IDEAS

Serve on couscous or with toasted pita bread. Top Moroccan Stew with chopped toasted almonds and wedges of hard-cooked egg. A sprinkling of finely chopped parsley or scallions also looks pretty.

Serves6 to 8; 8 cups 

Cooking Methodsauteeing, stewing

CostInexpensive

Easy

Total Timeunder 2 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together

Recipe Coursemain course

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturespiced

Type of Dishsoup, vegetable

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne or red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika (sweet, hot, or smoked)
  • 4 cups peeled and cubed sweet potatoes (1-inch cubes) (2 large, about 1 1/2, pounds)
  • 1/2 cups water
  • One 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups cubed eggplant (1/2-inch cubes) (one 5-pound whole eggplant)
  • 1 cup seeded and chopped bell peppers (any color)
  • 2 cups chopped zucchini or yellow squash
  • One 15-ounce can chickpeas, undrained (about 1 1/2 cups beans)
  • Pinch of saffron
  • 1/2 cup currants or raisins
  • Two tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  1. In a stew pot, warm the olive oil on medium-low heat. Add the onions and salt, and cook, covered, for 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, cayenne, and paprika, cover, and cook for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes, stir in the water, bring to a vigorous simmer, and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and eggplant, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the bell peppers, zucchini, chickpeas, saffron, and currants. Cover and simmer, stirring often, until the sweet potatoes and eggplant are tender, about 15 minutes. Stir in lemon juice to taste.

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