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MoFOGood Evening!

So, as promised, I am back tonight with something a bit more savory. This stew was inspired by a similar recipe in “The Vegan Table”. I made the actual recipe from the cookbook a few weeks ago and LOVED it.

Last summer, I spent some time in Morocco and fell in love. Morocco had always interested me. It’s blending of Arabic, North African, and European influences converging in a geographically diverse and beautiful location. I wanted to experience everything! I wanted to know all about women in Morocco, food, history, architecture, and the list goes on.

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Since this is a food blog, I will stick to food..I loved the cuisine, culture, and philosophy on food. The food memory that sticks out the most to me is the tagine. A tagine is a traditional cooking dish made of clay. The Moroccan tagines look like a cone. They are made for cooking stews and such at low temperatures for a really long time. The first meal I had in Morocco was a tagine of couscous and vegetables. I remember the experience so vividly. I taxi’d to a recommended restaurant in Casablanca, though the name escapes me, it was a plush restaurant, and when I say plush, I mean pillow-y.. Pillows were everywhere, and at that moment I knew I wanted a dining room full of pillows..

But I digress, back to the food.. I ordered a traditional tagine and when it arrived at my table, the top was removed and holy yum. The dizzying aroma hit my nose and I was in heaven. Cinnamon, saffron, cumin, stewed raisins, couscous… Heaven. Oh and vegetables.. Potatoes, carrots, tomatoes.. Mouth watering yet?? I know mine is! Anyway, one of my favorite memories was the first bite. I had a cup of sweet mint tea, a loaf of bread, and a vegetable tagine. I set up the perfect bite of couscous and veggies, closed my eyes, and savored the experience. That bite was about the food, but it was also about so much more. I was a single, western female in Morocco. I had arrived solo and was happy for the exciting experience that lay ahead. I was excited for all the things I was going to be doing, but I was also so excited to be eating couscous in Morocco.. And let me tell you, couscous tastes amazing in Morocco.. It is second to none.

So, it was natural that I wanted to recreate this when I got home. I have since made various stews and soups to suit the Moroccan spice blend I love so much. Saffron, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, paprika. So, SO good. Tonight’s dish features those spices, but with a bit of a different take on the ingredients..

My Sweet Potato Stew features carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, green bell peppers, garlic, onions, and of course sweet potatoes.

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Michelle’s Moroccan-Spiced Sweet Potato Stew

2 T water

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 Green bell pepper, chopped

3 Carrots, chopped

3 Sweet Potatoes, chopped

1 Zucchini, chopped

1 can diced tomatoes, with juices

3 cups chickpeas

1/2 t cinnamon

pinch saffron threads

salt, pepper, to taste

1/4 t ginger

1/2 t cumin

1/4 t paprika

1 T maple syrup

2-3 c. vegetable broth

Saute onions, garlic, and carrots with 2 T of water in a medium-high heat skillet, until onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Add bell pepper, sweet potatoes, zucchini, and spices. Stir constantly to coat, then add diced tomatoes, chickpeas, maple syrup, and vegetable broth. Don’t worry if the vegetables aren’t fully covered by the broth. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until sweet potatoes are tender (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally. When sweet potatoes are fork-tender, remove cover and keep on heat to reduce liquid. In the picture above, you can see quite a bit of liquid, I didn’t reduce the liquid enough and ended up with a more soupy consistency.. I would’ve preferred less liquid.. Serve stew over couscous, brown rice, or quinoa.

This recipe is pretty quick and easy. I like to add whatever veggies I have lying around. White potatoes, parsnips, cauliflower, or any other veggies that you may like! The flavor of the “sauce” is the best.. the longer you let it reduce, the richer and sweeter the liquid will become. The grain will soak up the flavors and really add another level to the stew.

I also like to cook my grain with a cinnamon stick to infuse the flavor even more!

Happy Travels!

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