I’m on a mission to explore some new dishes that aren’t part of my usual go-to cuisines. I decided to put Moroccan on top of the list, and I am thrilled that I did. Couscous is the most popular Moroccan dish, and it’s already high on the list of ingredients I always have in the pantry. Let it be known that I am an equal opportunity couscous cooker—I love the traditional Moroccan/North African/Middle Eastern, which is used here, and I also love the larger Mediterranean/Israeli couscous, which I have in salads all the time.
This stew lays no claim to authenticity, but borrows some the spices that most often appear in Moroccan cuisine (caraway, cumin, ground ginger, cayenne, and saffron). Beans are common in Moroccan cooking, chickpeas among them. And harissa has become a very common ingredient in Moroccan food, though its origins are up for discussion.
So, while this might not be exactly what you would get at a restaurant in Marrakesh, the stew’s earthy flavors combined with the hearty ingredients make for a pretty wonderful cold-weather dinner. Bonus: it can be easily doubled and also made ahead up to three days (and even better when reheated the next day).
So, next time you are thinking about a chili or a stew, take a right at the spice aisle and head to North Africa.
Photography credit: Evi Abeler Photography