25 May 2012

North African Squash and Chickpea Stew...

...I'm not actually convinced by the name of this dish...it is actually a soup-ish recipe, and in fact if I was going to name it, I might be tempted to use the word broth in there somewhere...and it is so much more than just squash and chickpeas, for a start there are lentils and orzo in there too...So what would it be called? 

Moroccan Squash, Chickpea, Lentil and Orzo Broth is a bit of a mouthful...but does describe it a bit more than it's 'real' name does...It is another recipe from the book: 'River Cottage Veg Everyday' by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall...from the Channel 4 TV show about River Cottage...and the portions this time were more realistic in my view...This dish smells wonderful as it cooks, and although it seems to have many ingredients and steps, it is actually quite simple to make...The ingredients list is a little long, but nothing is hard to get hold of...

You will need:
*Oil, olive 2Tbsp
*Onions, 2 - diced
*Garlic, 2 cloves - finely chopped
*Celery, 1 stick, finely diced
*Black pepper, ground - 1tsp
*Turmeric, ground - 1tsp
*Cinnamon, ground - 1/2tsp
*Ginger, ground - 1/2tsp
*Lentils, red - 100g
*Chickpeas, 1 400g tin - drained and rinsed
*Saffron, a pinch - crushed
*Passata, 500ml
*Coriander, large handful, fresh - chopped
*Parsley, large bunch, fresh - chopped
*Squash, 300g - peeled, deseeded and chopped into large dice
*Stock, veg - 1.2L
*Orzo, 150g
*Bay leaf, 1

See quite a long list but pretty easy to get hold of everything on it...So what do you do to make this dish...
 ...You start by softening the onions in the oil...you want them to go a golden colour if you can, but without burning them...then turn the heat down a wee bit and...
 ...to that you add the celery, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger...and cook for a few minutes...
 ...once that is done you add in the lentils, chickpeas, passata, saffron, parsley and half the coriander...cook this for about 15 minutes on a very low heat, you don't want it too high as the sauce will start to stick...
 ...the whole thing will thicken slightly as it cooks...
 ...now in goes the squash, bay leaf and stock...stir to combine with the thickened tomato based sauce, and simmer slowly for 30 minutes...
 ...finally add in the orzo and cook until the pasta is cooked to your liking...as this cooks, it will absorb a little of the liquid, but you will end up with a 'broth-like' texture to the dish...
 ...add in the last of the coriander, taste, season as needed and serve...
 ...we had ours with some homemade seedy bread to soak up the juices...
...considering the chickpeas, lentils and pasta in this dish, it was surprisingly light...it would make a fantastic lunch in the winter...or you could add a bit more pasta, to thicken it even more so that it actually becomes more 'stew-like' as in the recipe title...

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