Moroccan carrot and butternut stew

This warm winter has resulted in something I truly appreciate – local organic carrots!  Who doesn’t love carrots?  As a gardener I’ve never had much success with them, so my gratitude and applause this winter go to a couple of local farms.  Hats off especially to Seeley Farm!  Mark and Alex’s carrots have been sweet and wonderful, so much so, that after snacking on them, there were rarely enough left to cook with in our house.  But last Saturday, I managed to score a couple bunches from the Goetz family.  Now with the Locavorious frozen whole tomatoes, local carrots, squash, onions and garlic, you can make a dish that is both exotic and local.

I clipped this recipe from a newspaper, (remember those paper things we used to get everyday?) and have saved it for years.  It is attributed to Bon Appetit magazine, January 2006.  The herbed quinoa was even a hit with the kids.  If you’re not into quinoa, rice or couscous can sub right in.  You can make the stew a day in advance, and then just re-heat when the quinoa or grain is ready.   Alternatively, sous chef everything in advance, and then cook the stew and quinoa simultaneously.

Mix together this blend of dried spices:

2 t sweet paprika

1 t salt

½ t ground black pepper

½ t ground coriander

½ t ground cumin

½ t turmeric

½ t ground ginger

½ t cayenne pepper

pinch of saffron

Other stew ingredients:

2 T olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

3 garlic cloves

1 cup water

16 oz frozen whole tomatoes, thawed and peeled if desired, or just leave them frozen & toss them in

2 T fresh lemon juice

3 cups peeled butternut squash cut into 1-inch cubes

2 cups ¾-inch cubes carrots

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion; sauté until soft, stirring often, about 5 min.  Add garlic; stir 1 minute.  Add the spice blend.  Add 1 cup of water, the tomatoes, and lemon juice.  Bring to a boil.  Add squash and carrots.  Cover and simmer over medium low heat until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.

Herbed Quinoa:

1 cup quinoa

1 T butter

1 T olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

¼ cup finely chopped carrot

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ t salt

½ t turmeric

2 cups water

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

2 t chopped fresh mint

Melt butter and oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Add onion and carrot.  Cover; cook until vegetables begin to brown, stirring often, about 10 minutes.  Add garlic, salt, and turmeric; sauté 1 min.  Add quinoa; stir 1 min.  Add 2 cups water.  Bring to a boil; reduce heat to med-low.  Cover; simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.

Rewarm stew.  Stir in half of cilantro and half of mint.

Spoon quinoa onto platter, forming a well in center.  Spoon stew into well.  Sprinkle remaining herbs over.

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