As the weather gets colder, and the daylight dwindles, it’s nice to have a few comfort food recipes on hand. What’s even better is trying not to fall into that winter trap of eating tons of cheesy carbs and meat (not all the time anyway) that constitute traditional comfort food. With our health and waistlines in mind, I spent Sunday slowly developing a Moroccan-inspired veggie stew for dinner and three days of lunches. I love when I am prepared for the week!
When we need a huge grocery haul, we often go to Market Basket. We really should just go there all the time. If you can tolerate the crowds and the slippery, sawdusty floors, you can get some incredible deals! Next time I need to wear shoes with better soles though; I almost fell trying to get up the momentum to push our cart!
Anyhow, the end result of our shopping trip was fabulous, lots of veggies for eating and juicing. My Moroccan-inspired stew was full of lots of bold flavors, lots of nutrients, and bright colors.
4 cups chopped carrots
4 cups chopped butternut squash
2 cups chopped sweet potato
3 cups chickpeas (cooked)
any other leftover veggies you have – I tossed in about 3 cups of steamed broccoli and string beans
8 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 habanero peppers, fine chopped, seeds and all!
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons cumin
2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed as much as possible or roughly ground in a spice grinder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 (6 ounce) can of tomato paste
2 cups chicken or veggie stock
1 cup orange juice
Once everything is chopped and ready, start the garlic, onions, and habanero off in a little olive oil, just until sizzling a little. Add in the firmer veggies, the carrots, potatoes, and butternut squash, pour in half of the chicken stock, and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. After that time, add in the rest of the liquids, the tomato paste, the chickpeas, and the spices. Stir from the bottom repeatedly to break up the tomato paste and to bring up the garlic and onions. You want everything to get coated in the liquid.
Cover and lower the heat to as low as it will go. Simmer for about 45 minutes, then add in the softer veggies. Stir, cover, and simmer for another 15 minutes or so. Shut the heat off, and leave the stew on the stove, covered until ready to eat.
Giving this stew a couple of hours before we ate it meant that the flavors really got together and the sauce thickened up a bit. And since I left it in my Le Creuset, it actually stayed warm enough for us to eat without reheating!
Every bite of this dish was surprising. I loved all of the spices, the pop of citrus from the orange, and the richness that the tomato provided. Each mouthful included a different array of vegetables, and it warmed me from my toes.
It was, of course, even better the next day and the day after. A delicious lunch really can make the day a million times better!