Today’s recipe: Moroccan chickpeas with chard
An array of aromatic spices, along with chopped dried apricots and preserved lemons give this chickpea stew a complex, deep flavor, while chard stems and leaves lighten and freshen it up.
Served with couscous or flatbread, it’s a satisfying meatless meal on its own. Or serve it with roasted chicken, beef or lamb as a hearty side dish. If you can find rainbow chard, you’ll get the best color here, but any chard variety (red, Swiss, yellow) will work well.
- YIELD6 to 8 servings
- TIME2 1/2 hours, plus overnight soaking
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 Spanish onions, chopped
- 1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish)
- 1 very large bunch chard, stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 large turnip, peeled and diced
- 1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked (see note)
- ⅓ cup diced dried apricots
- 2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, more to taste
- ½ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
- Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned. (If tomato paste looks too dark too quickly, lower heat.)
- Add fennel, chard stems, carrot and turnip and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.
- Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew).
- Add chard leaves, apricots and preserved lemon to pot and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.
- To quick-soak chickpeas, bring them to a boil in water to cover by 1 inch. Turn off the heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain.
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