When we first moved into the log house fifteen years ago, we installed radiant heat under the kitchen floor. A small probe sticks out the side of the house, and when the temperature outdoors goes below 50°F, the probe triggers the thermostat and kicks on the gentle heat in the kitchen. At about that same time of year, when it's cooler outside, my cooking heats up, too. There's no shortage of hot chiles, hot pepper sauce, and hot ground peppers in my pantry from cultures around the world. One of my favorites, harissa -- a smoky, fiery, little-goes-a-long-way red pepper paste from North Africa -- adds the zing to the mild turkey and butternut squash in this dish. I use my favorite rice cooker to cook brown rice, which makes an ideal base for the stew; start the rice an hour before you're ready to make the rest of the recipe, or make it ahead of time and reheat before serving.
North African harissa turkey and butternut squash stew
From the pantry, you'll need: olive oil, onion, garlic, ground turkey, turmeric, ground cumin, coriander, harissa, cornstarch, chicken stock (be sure to use homemade or check ingredients for gluten-free), brown rice.
2 tsp olive oil
1-1/4 lb lean ground turkey (I use 93% fat-free)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups cubed butternut squash
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp coriander
1 Tbsp harissa (this will be very spicy; for a less spicy dish, start with 1 tsp harissa and add more to taste)
1 cup chicken stock (homemade or low-sodium store-bought), or water
Kosher salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, plus extra for garnish
1 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water
4 cups cooked brown rice
In a large, deep nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Over low-medium heat, sauté the turkey until it's no longer pink. Add the onions and garlic, and cook for 2 minutes, until the onions are translucent.
Stir in the squash, cover the pot, and cook for 1 minute. Then add the cumin, turmeric, coriander and harissa. Mix everything together, and sauté for 2 minutes.
Pour in the chicken stock or water. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes until the squash is cooked.
Taste, and season to your liking with salt and plenty of black pepper. Fold in the parsley.
With the liquid in the pan at a simmer, pour in the cornstarch mixture, and stir to combine. The liquid will thicken slightly.
Portion the cooked rice into individual bowls, and top with the turkey and squash. Garnish with additional chopped parsley, and serve hot.
More reasons to buy the tube (or can) of harissa:
Moroccan carrot salad
North African harissa turkey meatballs
Chicken salad with walnuts, celery, and pomegranate-harissa yogurt sauce
Vegan butternut squash and chickpea stew
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Skillet harissa turkey meatloaf, from Skinnytaste
Pumpkin and harissa vegetarian sausage rolls, from Delicious Everyday
Shakshouka with harissa, from Wild Greens and Sardines
Harissa potatoes, from Herbivoracious
Chunky pumpkin soup, from Chocolate & Zucchini
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