Friday, 26 July 2019

Moroccan-inspired Stew

I use the word 'inspired' for this recipe, because this is certainly not an authentic tagine! However, it takes influence from Moroccan flavours and spice mixes and makes a really hearty lunch or dinner. You can heat it up the next day for breakfast also, I won't judge.

This is also a really flexible recipe, you can use whatever vegetables you have spare or nearing their sell-by date. I've made this with courgette, spinach, and broad beans, but have also used peppers and carrots too. I generally make this recipe vegetarian or vegan, but you can add chicken, fish or lamb to this dish. If you are going to add meat, I would recommend cooking it separately then adding it at the end, either stirring it in to the stew or placing it on top of a serving.

You can also have it with whatever carbohydrate you like (you should know by now that I'm a strong advocate of carbohydrates). Rice or couscous are lovely, but flatbreads and pitta are amazing too.

With courgettes, peppers, celery, and large grain couscous stirred in.
As a side note, I've always struggled with making stew look aesthetically pleasing in photos. As delicious as the stew is, it just doesn't photograph as well as tofu pieces or guacamole...

Ingredients (serves 4)

Spice Mix
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder*
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
*As always, use more or less according to your taste.

Main Ingredients
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • Small handful of fresh mint leaves
  • Two stock cubes (I use vegetable stock, but you can use chicken stock if you prefer!)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 100g-200g dried lentils
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 6 cloves garlic**
  • One large onion
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • *optional* whatever vegetables you wish to add
  • *optional* 400g can chickpeas
**Same applies, I use a lot of garlic so please adjust to your own preference!


First, finely chop your onion and mince the garlic. Gently heat the vegetable oil in a wide, deep pan (a wok is perfect), and cook the onions and garlic until soft.

When they're softened, add your spice mix and stir. Add any 'harder' vegetables now (for example celery and carrots) and stir until softened slightly.

Add the tomatoes, lentils, and crumbled stock cubes, then add enough water to cover the mixture and stir well.

Bring to the boil, then lower the heat and simmer gently until the sauce has thickened. This should take around half an hour. Add any 'softer' vegetables (like courgettes and peppers) while simmering, they will soften and absorb the flavour, but still have a nice bite.

Optional: lightly coat the chickpeas in vegetable oil, and season with salt and pepper if you wish. Bake at 180° degrees (160° fan, gas mark 4) for around 20-30 minutes (depending on how crispy you like them). Stir these in to the stew before serving and it will add a really nice texture.

Have a taste of the stew while it's simmering. If you feel as though it needs more salt, or needs any more of the spices, then add these now.

When the sauce has thickened, take the stew off the heat. Tear the mint leaves and stir them into the stew, then add the lemon juice. If you are using spinach or other leafy greens, you can add it along with the mint leaves and stir them in until wilted.

Serve with couscous, rice, or flatbreads, and enjoy!

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