Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Year, New Food

I decided this year that my resolution would be to try to cook meat-free more often. Partially because I feel it can be healthier, and I know reducing the meat in my diet helps my carbon footprint. I also figured this would be a chance to expand my horizons, and I've never been afraid of a challenge in the kitchen. I don't have any strict goals here, just a desire to be more aware of the food that I'm eating.
I really like the flavor and texture of chickpeas, and I know that they're a common protein source in vegetarian cooking. This weekend I decided I wanted some kind of tomato and chickpea mixture that I could serve over couscous, and I found the perfect recipe on Epicurious. This Moroccan inspired dish was hearty tasting but still quite healthy, which is the perfect combination for a cold January day after too much holiday eating. We ate it with whole wheat couscous from Trader Joe's, and I'm happy to report that I ate until I was uncomfortably full :)

Check the link for the original recipe-- the reviews were really helpful on this one. I'm going to post my version of the recipe, but the original gives lots of examples of how flexible this dish can be. Trust the other reviewers... it needs more spice than originally called for. I also thought the spinach was the best part of the whole dish.

Chick-Pea Tomato Stew with Moroccan Flavors
adapted from

1 can chick-peas (about 14 ounces)
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/8 cup olive oil
2 large onions, sliced thin (about 7 cups)
one 28- to 32-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained, reserving juice, and chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, chopped
zest and juice of one lemon
two cloves of garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 tsp curry powder
3/4 pounds fresh spinach, stems trimmed and leaves washed well and drained (about 5 cups packed)

In a 3-quart saucepan combine chick-peas, cinnamon, cumin seeds, and water to cover. Simmer, covered partially, about 20 minutes. Discard cinnamon.

While chick-peas are simmering, in a large heavy kettle heat oil over moderate heat and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until deep golden brown, about 15 minutes. Stir in tomatoes with reserved juice, chick-peas with cooking liquid, apricots, garlic, lemon and juice, ground cumin, curry powder, and coriander and bring to a simmer. Cook stew about 45 minutes, or until chick-peas are tender and liquid is thickened slightly. Stir in spinach, a heaping handful at a time, and cook until wilted and just tender.

Season stew with salt and pepper and serve with couscous and bread.


Liz said...

I am always looking for meatless meals, and I love chickpeas! Looks great, thanks!

Joelen said...

I really enjoy the flavors of Moroccan cuisine and need more meatless meals in our repertoire. Looks delicious!

Anonymous said...

Hey there! It looks like you enjoy cooking and baking. I read that is having a cooking/baking contest. Why not try that out?:)

elly said...

Happy New Year! I love the flavors in this. Looks great.

Sarah said...

This really does look tasty and so comforting!

Darius said...

Wow - so the stew looks amazing!

You should really think about taping an episode or two on the site!

A World in a PAN said...

I love Moroccan cuisine, as well as the Tunisian one. The mixt of spices and herbs is unique and the flavors of the vegetables or meats/poultry, steamed and or braised, are enhanced by that mix.

Bren said...

yes, yes and yes! i haven't made something like this in about 8 years! thanks for reminding of it! Cooking is so much fun, isn't it!