Spicy Moroccan Chickpea, Sweet Potato Stew

Not too long ago, Susan returned from the grocery store with what seemed like dozens of cans of Chick Peas. What, I thought, am I going to do with all these cans of chick peas? I often make Hummus but what else could I create. Salads? Soups?

I found many soup recipes online and was inspired by this one, “20-Minute Moroccan Chickpea Soup.” I note my changes and additions below.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, peeled and diced (I used a Vidalia Onion.)
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped (My addition.)
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced (I used 2.)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock (I used 8 cups Homemade Chicken Stock. 4 didn’t seems like enough.)
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (a.k.a. garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained (I used 1 can.)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes (I don’t like fire-roasted. I used regular diced tomatoes.)
  • 1 sweet potato, chopped into bit-size pieces (My addition.)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste (I used paste from a tube.)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin (I used 1 tablespoon. We love cumin!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, to taste (I used at least 1/4+ teaspoon!)
  • Kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 3 cups roughly-chopped kale leaves or baby spinach (I used 7+ ounces Collard Greens—we love them!)
  • 2 cups cooked chicken (My addition. I had this in fridge as I roasted a chicken the night before–and then made the stock.)
  • chopped fresh cilantro and fresh lemon wedges, for serving

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add onioncelery and carrot and sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and translucent.  (To save time, mince the garlic while the onion is cooking.)  Then add garlic and saute for 1 more minute, stirring occasionally, until fragrant.  Add in the stock, chickpeas, tomatoes, tomato paste, sweet potato, cumin, cinnamon, and red pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer.  (While the soup is coming to a simmer, chop the kale/collard greens and cilantro, and slice the lemon wedges.)
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low, and stir in the chopped kale/collard greens.  Continue simmering for 3 minutes until the kale has slightly softened. Note: The collard green take 20-30 minutes to cook!
  3. Taste and season with your desired amount of salt and pepper.  (I used a generous pinch of each.)
  4. Serve warm, garnished with fresh cilantro and served with a fresh lemon wedge.

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Curried Apple, Squash, Sweet Potato Soup

I have always enjoyed the cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home,” so when Susan and I were at the town library recently and she pointed out to me a new cookbook, “Moosewood Restaurant Celebrates,” I said we had the check this out. And we did and I made this delicious curried, apple, squash, sweet potato soup!

Ingredients
Soup
2 cups chopped onions
2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil
1 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 teaspoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon salt
6 cups peeled, seeded and coarsely chopped butternut squash* (I oven-roasted this before adding to soup.)
2 cups peeled, cored and coarsely chopped apples
2 cups peeled and coarsely chopped sweet potatoes* (I oven-roasted this before adding to soup.)
4 cups water
* About 3 pounds of butternut squash and just less than 2 pounds of sweet potatoes will yield the right amount for this recipe.
Topping
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
10 ounces fresh spinach or mustard greens, rinsed and chopped
 
Directions
In a large nonreactive soup pot (it needs to be big), sauté the onions in the butter or oil until soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.  In a small dry skillet, toast the cumin and coriander seeds on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes, until aromatic and lightly browned.  Cool for a few minutes and grind to a powder (I used a coffee grinder). Add the ground spices, salt, squash, apples, sweet potato, and water to the onions.  Bring to a boil, then lower the heat, cover, and simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes, until all of the ingredients are thoroughly cooked and tender.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, sauté the garlic in the oil for about 1 minute on medium heat, stirring constantly, until soft and just golden. Add the greens and sauté on high heat until the water evaporates and the greens wilt.  Remove from the heat and set aside.
Purée the soup in small batches in a blender until smooth, adding about 1/4 cup of water if the soup is thicker than you’d like.  When ready to serve, gently reheat, ladle into shallow bowls, and top each serving with some of the sautéed greens.
I served the soup with this homemade bread with sage.


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If you are looking for beautiful portrait, nature, or documentary photography, or someone you know is looking for photography that helps to create a more artful and beautiful life, please contact me.

Sweet Potatoes with Tahini Butter

What is so special and delicious about last night’s dinner (pictured here) is not the baked beans, nor the grilled bison burger on a roll slathered with Tahini Butter, nor the freshly made dill pickles from yours truly, but it is the Steamed Sweet Potato with Tahini Butter and Toasted Sesame Seeds—a recipe from the NYTimes magazine. YUM!

A few weeks ago, Susan handed me the magazine section and said “This sweet potato recipe looks delicious. Would you make it for me? For us?”

And I did and I can’t wait to make it again.

Quoting Samin Nosrat (writing in The New York Times Magazine):

Carla Lalli Music, a food writer and editor, is vehemently opposed to roasting sweet potatoes. “I don’t understand why people are constantly roasting them,” she says. “Roasting just makes them more fibrous and leathery, and they never, ever really get crispy.” Instead, she posits that steaming performs a kind of alchemy on sweet potatoes that roasting never does — the moist heat fluffs them into absorbent clouds. And to make up for the inherent blandness of the cooking method, she slathers them with a rich tahini butter spiked with soy sauce, which immediately melts into a mouth-smacking sauce. Her simple recipe ends with a shower of golden sesame seeds and a torrent of lime juice. Try it — every bite will surprise you with crunch, salt, umami and acidity to counterbalance the sweetness of the pillowy potatoes.”

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ pounds sweet potatoes of any color (about 4 medium), washed
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (3/4 stick), at room temperature
  • ¼ cup well-stirred tahini
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus lime wedges, for serving
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 clove garlic, finely grated or pounded smooth with a pinch of salt
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • Flaky sea salt, for serving

Preparation

  1. Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium pot fitted with a steamer basket or footed colander. Place sweet potatoes in the steamer. Cover, reduce heat to medium and steam until potatoes are completely tender, 35 to 40 minutes. (Use a skewer or paring knife to check for doneness; the potatoes should be soft all the way through.)
  2. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk butter, tahini, lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil and garlic until smooth. It might seem as if the butter and liquids will never fully combine, but they will — just keep stirring! Taste, and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and more lime juice as needed.
  3. Set a small pan over medium heat. Toast the sesame seeds, swirling the pan continuously, until seeds are golden. They’ll give off some oil and start to clump together, so if needed, stir with a wooden spoon to keep them moving so that they toast evenly. They’ll turn a nice deep-golden shade just as they dry off a bit, about 4 minutes. Transfer seeds to a small bowl to prevent them from overcooking.
  4. When the sweet potatoes are tender, use tongs to transfer them to a large plate or platter. When they are just cool enough to handle, split potatoes in half lengthwise, and season with flaky salt. Spread tahini butter generously onto the flesh, and top with sesame seeds. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

 

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Sweet Potato and Rice Casserole

Another recipe my wife asked me to make.

Hearty and Delicious!