Thursday, August 13, 2009

Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Michael Chiarello was making Moroccan food today on Easy Entertaining and that reminded me that I hadn’t made my Moroccan chickpea stew in months. This is one of the few recipes that is repeated a few times a year at my house. I think this is one of my husband’s top 10 favorite dinners.

This stew is a combination of something we made in cooking class with a number of additions from yours truly. I added the preserved lemon and now I can’t imagine this stew without it. However if you don’t have preserved lemon in your refrigerator you can substitute fresh lemon. It isn’t the same but it will get you close.

When this stew is cooking the entire house smells so wonderful. I adore the aroma of this dish. It is sweet from the cinnamon and savory from the coriander, cumin and fennel. My husband would disagree but I think this smells as good as chocolate cookies baking in the oven.

I use the bean cooking liquid first when I add liquid to this stew. My theory is that some of the vitamins from the beans come out into the water when they cook so I like to use that cooking liquid when I can.

I hope you try this recipe; it is one of our family favorites. If you do try it please let me know what you think.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Serves 8

1 large red onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tablespoon of olive oil
2 – 3 inch cinnamon sticks
1 ½ teaspoons of cumin seeds
1 ½ teaspoons of coriander seed
1 ½ teaspoons of fennel seed
28 ounces of canned diced tomatoes
1 pound of dried chickpeas, cooked until soft
1 cup of golden raisins
1 preserved lemon, peel chopped finely
enough water or vegetable stock to cover beans in pot (or use the bean cooking liquid)
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 cups of julienned fresh greens (spinach, chard, beet greens, etc.) – optional
a few tablespoons of sliced almonds, for garnish - optional


Serve with cooked couscous, millet or amaranth - optional


Sauté the red onion and garlic in olive oil until soft. Add spices and sauté until fragrant, approximately one minute. Add remaining ingredients except fresh greens and almonds. Add enough water, vegetable stock or bean cooking liquid to cover the beans. Cook over low until the flavors have combined (at least 30 minutes). Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

Add the finely shredded greens once the heat has been turned off and approximately 2 minutes before serving (they should be wilted but still recognizable), if desired. Your grain of choice can be added to the bottom or top of stew when served if desired. If using the almonds sprinkle them on the top of the stew at the very end, before serving, so they retain some of their crunch.

Nutritional Information (without optional ingredients):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 309.54
Calories From Fat (13%) - 41.56

Total Fat - 4.96g
Saturated Fat - 0.52g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 207.18mg
Potassium - 912.13mg
Total Carbohydrates - 59.08g
Fiber - 14.87g
Sugar - 19.43g
Protein - 13.15g

Toasted Millet
Serves 4


½ cup of millet
1 ½ cups of water
¼ teaspoon of kosher salt


In a dry medium saucepan over medium high heat toast the millet for a few minutes, stirring so it doesn’t burn. When the millet begins to lightly brown (about 3 minutes) add the water and salt and bring the water to a boil. Cover the pan and reduce the heat so the millet is just simmering. Check the millet in 20 minutes, when the water has been absorbed turn off the heat and allow the millet to stand for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes has passed fluff the millet with a fork before serving.

Nutritional information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 94.5
Calories From Fat (9%) - 8.83

Total Fat - 1.06g
Saturated Fat - 0.18g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 121.42mg
Potassium - 49.64mg
Total Carbohydrates - 18.21g
Fiber - 2.13g
Sugar - 0g
Protein - 2.76g


We don’t have many favorite recipes at my house. This is partly by design since I don’t like to repeat dishes. However, this one is too good not to make every couple of months. It is hard to say what I love more the aroma or the taste. The stew is cooking now and my nose is bathed in the intoxicating aroma of this stew. If they made this into a perfume I would wear it. As lovely as it smells the taste is equally fantastic. I really hope you give this a try if you are looking for a new way to prepare chickpeas.

The version of this recipe I made tonight had spinach stirred into the stew just before serving and fresh minced cilantro (1/4 cup), mint (2 tablespoons) and lemon zest (about 1 teaspoon) in the millet. I did add a few sliced almonds for garnish, about a teaspoon per serving.

On the health front this stew if packed with healthy ingredients that fight high cholesterol, heart disease and cancer. Please note, I did get the lycopene into dinner tonight with the canned tomatoes as I promised.


  1. I just found your blog. I love Moroccan food. I also totally know what you mean about not repeating recipes! I guess that qualifies me as a real foodie. LOL Anyway, I'm going to get the ingredients for this and make a double batch over the weekend! I'll get back to you later!

  2. Okay . . . here's the report: It's a winner!!!! Gonna blog about it tonight!

  3. hey there, just wanted to let you know i came by your blog via healthygirlkitchen. i made this tonight minus the oil (husband battling high blood pressure...should've been eating like me for the past 3 years instead of thinking I'M the loopy one for wanting to eat really healthy food!!!) i also subbed currants for raisins coz i'm out. i used 3 carrrots, a potato, half tinned and half fresh tomato, handful of broccoli, green beans and a zucchini.....massive thumbs up! with quinoa this is one dinner that i'm gonna be making again. thanks heaps and just wanted to let you know i'll be visiting back here :-)


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