When the aroma of cinnamon fills the house, I follow my nose to the kitchen, expecting to discover muffins or baked apples in the oven. Sometimes, the intoxicating smell of cinnamon comes from something even better: a savory, Moroccan-inspired vegan butternut squash and chickpea stew in a tomato sauce infused with cinnamon and coriander. A hint of smoky-hot harissa, the assertive North African pepper paste, balances the sweetness of the squash, and seems absolutely necessary here. (Kathy, my spicy-food-averse cooking assistant, loved the gentle heat, so you know it's not too spicy.) Make this stew up to three days ahead, or freeze it; like most stews, it's even better on the second day. Serve over couscous or rice, as the centerpiece of a vegan meal, or as a side dish with grilled lamb or fish.
Vegan butternut squash and chickpea stew
Serves 4-6, with couscous or rice.
2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tbsp harissa (or more, to taste)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups canned chopped tomatoes
1 19-oz can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen petite green peas
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
In a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion until translucent and just starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring frequently to keep the garlic from burning.
Stir in the harissa, cinnamon and coriander, and cook for 30 seconds to release the fragrance from the spices. Add the squash and tomatoes, stir to incorporate the spices, and add 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring a few times.
Add the chickpeas, green peas and parsley, and continue to cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
Serve hot, over couscous or rice.
More recipes in The Perfect Pantry:
Sweet potato, lentil and raisin stew
Chickpeas with sausage and peppers
Roasted chickpeas with garlic, cumin and paprika
Slow cooker Indian-spiced butternut squash
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Harissa hummus, from Andrea Meyers
Ground chicken (or turkey) and chickpea curry stew with yogurt and cilantro, from Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea potato curry, from Simply Recipes
Spaghetti with chickpeas, from Smitten Kitchen
Tunisian carrot salad with harissa and feta cheese, from The Left Over Queen
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