Monday, March 14, 2011

North African Vegetable Stew



Cool-weather broccoli and cauliflower take a bow in this complex and spicy vegetable stew. 8 servings.


Chick-peas
1/2 cup dried chick-peas, about 3 ounces, soaked overnight in cold water
3 thin coins of fresh ginger
1 large bay leaf
1-1/2 in. cinnamon stick

Drain and rinse the chick peas. Cook in medium saucepan with ginger, bay, cinnamon and water. Bring the water to a boil, then turn to simmer uncovered until tender. 50 to 60 minutes. Set aside and let the peas cool in their broth. (Canned garbanzo beans work great. Just cook in spices until tender and set aside. You want the broth.)

Spices
Combine 1-1/2 tsp fresh ground cinnamon, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper in 1 tbsp hot water. Steep 1 large pinch saffron threads in a little hot water. Set aside.

Stew
1-1/2 tbsp EVOO
2-1/2 lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped. About 4 cups. Or 16 oz diced tomatoes with juice.
1 medium sized broccoli stalk, about 2 cups florets
4 garlic cloves, finely diced
2 tbsp grated fresh ginger
1 lb. new potatoes
3 medium size carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2 inch strips on a diagonal, about 3 cups
1 medium size red or yellow bell pepper, cut into thick strips and then triangles, about 1 cup
1/2 small head of cauliflower, about 2 cups florets
Cayenne pepper
Salt
Fresh mint
Fresh cilantro

If you're using canned tomatoes, cook them in a small saucepan with 1 tsp salt over low heat while you prepare the vegetables. The extra cooking time will reduce their acidity.

Parboil the broccoli florets in boiling water for about 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cool water. Set aside.

Saute' onion in olive oil over medium heat until it releases it juices and turns tan, 10 to 12 minutes. Add garlic, ginger and spices. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add 1/2 cup chick-pea broth, potatoes and carrots. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the pepper. Cover and cook for 5 minutes more. Add the cauliflower, stir and cook uncovered until just heated through. (Vegetable broth works if you need a little extra liquid.)

Add the tomatoes, saffron, chick-peas and the remaining broth. Stew uncovered over medium heat for 20 to 25 minutes, until the root vegetables are tender and the flavors blend.

Add salt and cayenne to taste. (I use Tony Cachere's Cajun Seasoning.)

Add broccoli a few minutes before serving.

Garnish with chopped mint and cilantro.

~Fields of Greens. Annie Sommerville
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