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Moroccan-spiced squash and white beans with lemon and mint

Most folks think pumpkins or squashes are boring, but I adore them. They are healthy, and I love their earthy, sweet flavour.

This is a lovely stew with influences from Morocco. The squash is soft and juicy and enveloped in a spicy stew that is banging with flavour. The harissa paste shines through, and the chillies add the perfect pop of spice. You will need to make a large pot of this stew; it is delicious and soul-satisfying.

Like every recipe I have cooked from Diana Henry, this recipe is absolutely delicious. Subtle flavours dominate this meal, and the spices are balanced. This was my first Diana Henry cookbook, and after making a couple of recipes from it, I was addicted to her cooking. There are flavours and cuisines from around the world and her writing style is fun and easy. Like this recipe, the dishes step away from the ordinary and are just amazing.

For more wonderful recipes from this cookbook, click here.



Ingredients:

1/2 cup dried white, navy, cannelloni or black-eyed peas, soaked in water overnight

1 garlic clove, minced

1 small bay leaf

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 cups water


2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely diced

1 large carrot, well-scrubbed and finely diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

1-2 red chillies, sliced

1 tablespoon ginger paste

1 tablespoon ground cumin seeds

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon harissa paste

5 plum tomatoes, finely diced

1 small pumpkin or squash, peeled and chunked in large pieces

7 cups water or stock of your choice

Zest of 2 limes or 1 lemon

Juice of 1-2 limes or 1 lemon

A handful of mint, roughly torn


Rinse out the soaked beans and add to a pot with the garlic, bay leaf, salt and water. Bring to a boil and scoop off any scum. Simmet for 40-45 minutes till the beans are cooked through but still retain a bite. Drain the beans and discard the bay leaf. Set aside the beans for the stew.


Heat the oil in a large pot, one large enough for all the ingredients. Add the onions and carrots and cook on medium-low heat till the onions are very soft and translucent.


Add the garlic, chillies, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, tomato paste, and harissa paste and cook for 5 minutes, stirring the pot often so the mix does not burn. At this point, you should have a lovely aroma, and the ginger should no longer smell raw.


Add the tomatoes and cook for 7-8 minutes till the tomatoes start to break down and you have a sauce. Add the pumpkins and cook for an additional 5 minutes till the pumpkin begins to soften and the spices coat the pumpkin heavily. Be careful not to burn the sauce, use a low flame and stir almost constantly.


Add the water/stock and bring to a boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the cooked beans and simmer for an additional 15 minutes. Check the pumpkins and make sure they are very soft. However, they should retain a structure and not start to break down. Taste for salt and spice. The gravy should be thin and very bold with spice.


Before serving, heat the stew, zest the limes or lemons, add the lime/lemon juice, and mix well. Serve in a bowl garnished with mint. Serve with pita or similar bread.



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