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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Andreae's Vegetarian Moroccan Stew with No-knead Bread

This dish has that certain kind of tantalizing heat that makes it delightful year round, and I find it particularly perfect for these annoyingly chilly Chicago "spring" days. I first became acquainted with Andreae's Vegetarian Moroccan Stew when our friend Michelle volunteered to bring us dinner after we'd brought our newborn son home from the hospital. Michelle showed up at the door with a huge container of couscous, another of healthy and filling Moroccan stew, and then some home baked bread and sinful brownies to round the whole thing off.

I devoured the vegetable stew that night, sopping up the juices with a piece of freshly baked and still warm bread. Then I gleefully enjoyed it reheated for lunch every day until it was gone. I just couldn't get enough of it, and I loved that it was so richly satisfying, but healthy to boot (and therefore great for helping to drop those baby pounds). I immediately asked Michelle for the recipe, which she gladly supplied. The recipe even has a friendly little back story:

"The Moroccan Stew is a recipe my oldest and dearest friend Emily, who I've known since I was 3 sent me. Her friend Andreae who is a vegan chef created it. The bread was a find from the days when I used to sit down and read the Sunday paper. Best when served fresh out of the oven! Elliot found the brownie recipe. We used cocoa powder instead of unsweetened chocolate but I'm sure both would work. Enjoy!

I'm sure I'll share the brownie recipe soon, but for now feast on some bread and Moroccan stew...

Andreae's Famous Moroccan Stew

by Andreae Prozesky circa 2000

Some Oil
1 chopped onion
1 chopped zucchini
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt to taste
1 box couscous (Near East's tomato lentil works well)

1. Heat oil in saucepan. Add spices. Cook about a minute. Add onion, cook another minute or so.
2. Add zucchini, cook another minute or so.
3. Add everything else. Cover, cook for maybe 5-10 minutes.
4. Make couscous.
5. Serve stew over couscous.

Note: Doubles, triples, or quadruples well. Sometimes I substitute fresh tomatoes, but if you do, remember to add extra salt.

No-Knead Bread

By Leah Eskin, Chicago Tribune, Adapted from the New York Times
3 cups all-purpose or bread four, plus more for dusting
1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
1 5/8 cups water
Cornmeal or what bran, optional

1. Mix: In large bowl, combine flour, yeast, and salt. Stir in water. Don't fret over the shaggy, sticky dough.
2. Rest: Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at room temperature at least 12 hours, preferably 18. Dough is ready when dotted with bubbles.
3. Deflate: Lightly flour a work surface and scoop dough onto it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rest 15 minutes.
4. Shape: Dust dough lightly with flour; gently and quickly shape into a ball. Coat a cotton towel with flour, wheat bran, or cornmeal. Put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran, or cornmeal. Cover with another towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will have doubled and will not readily spring back when poked.
5. Bake: At least half an hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 4- to 8 quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in the oven as it heats. Carefully slide pot out of the oven and remove lid. Pull top towel off of bread. Slip a hand under bottom towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up. Cover pot with lid and bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, until beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.


Alisa - Frugal Foodie said...

I must confess, I like kneading bread .. but I am definitely bookmarking that stew, it sounds awesome!

Erin said...

Alisa: honestly, I LOVE kneading bread. its therapeutic. it makes me feel connected to generations of women all around the globe. it puts artistry (even artistry I dont possess but aspire to) into the act of baking. But then again, I have not attempted the no-knead phenom, I've only enjoyed the fruits of its (less) labor.

Annabel said...

OOooh! i can't wait to try the stew! looks delicious!

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Jackie said...

My hubby is a vegetarian so that might be the perfect meal for him tomorrow. I read that the combination of a starch (like the couscous) and a dry bean (like chickpeas here) is the perfect protein combo for a veggie diet. Thanks for sharing :)

Philip said...


This stew absolutely rocks! Of course when I put it together I didn't have all the ingredients. Swapped out yellow squash for zucini, and a can of hormel chili with beans for the garbanzos, and added some shallots. The results were simply stunning. Thanks so much for the inspiration. Next week I'm going to use some of the pinto beans that I usually have cooked in this.

Marcello Gourmet said...

I'll try it too

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe, pretty much as written (no chili so I used chile flakes, added a yellow squash in addition to the zucchini) and it was very good. I would have used a little more of each spice and added some salt (I didn't add any but did use canned tomatoes) next time as the flavor wasn't very pronounced that night. The leftovers the next day, however, were great.
I made beer bread and some sauteed cauliflower with this.
A very nice, very simple dinner, but I'm glad I had the bread and cauliflower because my brain had trouble wrapping itself around the idea of such a simple dinner.

Erin said...

Philip: Glad to hear you tried it and liked it. Too bad it wasnt posted during your lenten vegetarian streak.

Annabel, Jackie and Marcello: Glad to hear it caught your attention. I hope you give it a try and enjoy it.

Anonymous: I certainly advocate all sorts of tinkering with recipes, and I am a huge tinkerer myself. When we had it here it was incredibly flavorful. I know there can be a lot of variation in the intensity of spices by quantity depending on the quality of the spices and how long they've been stored (both on the grocer's shelf and in your kitchen). I buy my spices in the bulk bins at Whole Foods in small enough quantities that they are regularly replenished. If something doesnt smell heady and divine when I open the container I know it is time to toss it and get some new. So if you havent changed out your spices in a while you will definitely need to add more.

And of course you could have perfectly fresh spices but your taste just prefers a more spiced load. That is perfectly fine too. Either way I'm glad to see a healthy and delicious easy dish make its way onto more tables.

Philip said...

Thanks Erin, this would have been perfect during lent. As it is I've been making some variation of this stew on a regular basis since you posted, and I've been tinkering. A friend suggested Apple cider Vinegar instead of oil. That batch was ok, but I've gone back to using olive oil. One of my favorite additions has been to add a diced yam to the mix.

Going back to Lent. Giving up meat for the 47 days of Lent this year was so easy. I hardly had any cravings. On the other hand I thought that I'd give up all white carbs for two weeks in June. No rice, no bread, no crackers, chips, grits, or pasta, and I could barely make it. after a few days I began hallucinating about steaming loaves of fresh baked bread, flowers turned into gigantic muffins before my eyes, and the rustle of a newspaper sounded just like the crunch of potato chip. The craving for carbs broke me at 12 days and I made buttermilk pancakes. It was a good recipe from CI, but could have been flour, salt, and milk and they would have been amazing.

Any thoughts on getting past carb cravings?

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