From Morocco, with Love

In Couscous, Lentils, Moroccan, Sweet Potato, Vegetables on November 18, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Anybody notice that it became winter overnight?  It was 70 on Monday and 40 today; kind of drastic, don’t you think?  The only benefit of this weather is that it warrants cooking mass varieties of soups and stews.  Last night’s dinner was no exception.

I was feeling a little under the weather yesterday (I’m sure Trivia the night before and a weekend of wedding festivities had NOTHING to do with it).  I definitely wanted some comfort food.  Mac ‘n cheese and pizza are all fine and dandy, but they don’t really nourish the soul.  To really mitigate those feelings of nausea and splitting headache, I turned to a yummy Moroccan inspired stew from The Kind Diet.  I know, not really creative to follow a recipe, but it’s just super delish.  It is a lentil and sweet potato stew that has a potent combo of spices and flavors.

In this dish, there isn’t a lot of time between steps, so I found it easiest to prepare all the veggies and spices before turning the pot on.  I believe in culinary terms that’s called mise en place.    I chopped up the onion and tomatoes, then peeled and cubed the sweet potatoes.

As I mentioned, I love this weather because it is conducive to soup making.  What makes it even better is cooking soups in my Caribbean blue french oven.  Not only is it beautiful, but it is the best pot I’ve ever had.  I added some EVOO to the pot to start sauteing the onions.

After about 2 minutes, time to add the tomatoes.

This gave me a solid 3 minutes to measure out the spices.  Cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  Aren’t they so bright and cheerful?

I added them to the pot to cook with the sauted veggies.

Once they were mixed and cooked out a bit, I added the lentils.

I like adding the lentils before the broth because it helps them to absorb more of the flavor.  Then I tossed with the sweet potato.

After a minute or so, I added the vegetable broth, making sure to scrape everything on the bottom and sides as not to miss any of the amazing flavors.

The stew came to a boil, and then I reduced and covered to simmer for about 40 minutes.

While the stew stewed away, I prepared a veggie side dish.  I had 2 kohlrabi bulbs from this weeks share that I thought I ought to use.

These babies are related to radishes and turnips.  They have the sharpness in flavor, and watery yet substantial bite to them.  Let’s just say they are kind of…plain.  I decided I’d roast them.  My favorite way to prepare veggies is roasting.  My other favorite way is grilling, but that’s hard to do with smaller vegetables.  I preheated the oven to 400 and started to get to work.

I cut up the ends and peeled the outer skin, which is very tough and I’m pretty sure not easily edible or digestible.

Then I cubed the kohlrabi and diced some red onion and garlic.  I tossed on a roasting pan with EVOO, vinegar, salt, pepper, and dried thyme.

While that roasted, it was time to prepare the starch for the stew.  I’ve used both brown rice and quinoa to go with it, but Nick’s favorite is couscous, probably because it’s most similar to pasta.  Also, couscous matched the Moroccan theme more than the other two options.  Also, it takes about 6 minutes to make, which is awesome.

Very simply, you boil the liquid (in this case I used broth to add more flavor), turn off the heat, stir in the couscous, cover and let sit for 5 minutes.  It will look like this.

To add some visual and flavorful interest, I washed and chopped some parsley to add to the couscous.  I also added some vegan margarine.

Then it was time to plate everything.  I only photographed Nick’s bowl because I didn’t add couscous to mine.  I find that the sweet potato is enough starchiness for me.  I scooped some of the couscous and created a well for the stew.

Then I spooned in the stew and topped with parsley.

The kohlrabi didn’t really belong in that bowl, so I had to use a separate plate.  It still looked nice though, especially with the pop of purple from the red onion.

I love eating meals like this, it makes me feel so exotic and cultured.  I’m sure though that if I ever went to Morocco and made something like this, they’d think it was just American food.

It’s already Friday, and I still have a ton of stuff left from this past Saturday’s pickup.  I was going to make something tonight, but turns out we have dinner plans.  Luckily, what’s left is potatoes and squash, which will last in the fridge for a bit.  Luckily Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so I’ll have plenty of people to whom I can pawn off my extra food.  Hooray for holidays!

What are some of your favorite ethnic foods?

  1. […] love soup.  I’ve talked about it here, here, and here.  That’s probably why back in the day I’d used more than 10 Hale & Hearty bean […]

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