Kristin’s cinnamon spiced Moroccan stew

20th January 2016

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Since arriving home from our American trip a few weeks ago, I have been ‘nesting’ in my home, cooking, baking, moving things about, filing, organising, simplifying, and creating things, all inspired by my stay in Sebastopol and that lingering sense of being held, nurtured and a deep inner feeling of peace I felt there.

This tasty Moroccan stew is inspired by Kristin, who made it for dinner one rainy, chilly evening. I have been making it weekly for Jonathan to take to work and for the children’s school lunches, or in the evenings for a warming, cozy, comforting stew.

This was a recipe Kristin had written down for me and sent by ‘snail’ mail years ago, but I had never gotten around to making it.  So when I arrived home from our trip, I set about rifling through my drawers, walls, cupboards, mirrors, where I have all of her artwork and things stuck – to find it.  I keep all of her letters as they hold such soft, peaceful beauty and the art inside always inspires.  She says I am her muse, but she is my teacher, in so many, many ways – I admire her authenticity to this yogic lifestyle and teachings, and her simple living as a householder.  She has the ability to live with such modesty, surrounded by natural beauty as you can see by the images below – but still maintains a balance as she moves in this world.  I am ever grateful to be moving on this path with her.

kristin in windowkristin kitchen windowinspiration kristin house

– Sebastopol, California

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Kristin’s cinnamon spiced Moroccan stew with couscous

serves 4 

I always keep bags of pre-cooked chickpeas in my freezer for easy meals during the week – Chickpeas that have been soaked overnight and simmered until soft.  A few pinches of bicarbonate soda added when simmering helps to soften them.  I also find freshly ground spices where possible make all the difference to the flavours of the finished dish.  The cinnamon & cumin has such an exotic aroma, flooding your senses with a ‘little of divine’.   It is delicious.  Use any combination of vegetables – carrots, sweet potato, pumpkin, eggplant, zucchini, beans – all combined to make at least 5 – 6 cups of finely chopped or sliced vegetables…

for the couscous:

2 cups couscous

3½ cups boiling water

½ tsp salt

2 heaping tablespoons ghee/butter

½ cup roughly chopped almonds

for the stew:

cup olive oil

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

1 heaped tsp turmeric powder

½ tsp cinnamon – preferably Indian – a spicy, strong cinnamon

½ tsp good quality paprika

a combination of approximately 5 – 6 cups of finely chopped vegetables – 

1 large fennel/2 sticks celery

1 large red bell pepper

2 large tomatoes

2 small carrots

1 small sweet potato/wedge of pumpkin

1 cup cabbage

1 cup pre-cooked chickpeas

1 – 2 cups water

2 Tblsp small dried currants/ jaggery

salt & pepper, to taste

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prepare the couscous:

In a medium saucepan, place the couscous, ghee and boiling water.  Stir to combine, cover and allow to sit for 20 minutes, undisturbed.

prepare the stew:

In a small pan, dry-roast the cumin seeds until slightly golden.  Allow to cool and grind in a mortar and pestle.  Set aside.

Wash, peel where necessary and finely chop the vegetables, keeping them separate.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan, and saute the celery and red pepper until soft, add the chopped tomatoes, the ground cumin, turmeric, cinnamon and paprika, stir to combine. Depending on the choice of vegetables, add them bit by bit, adding the starchier vegetables first as they take the longest to cook.  Once all the vegetables have been added, add the water and the pre-cooked chickpeas. Cover and stew on low until the vegetables are slightly softened.  When cooked, season with salt, stir in the dried currants/jaggery and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley/coriander.

Fluff the couscous with a fork, and garnish with the roughly chopped almonds.

Serve in a bowl, a generous helping of couscous, a bountiful scoop of Moroccan stew, garnish with more almonds and freshly chopped coriander/parsley.  A few good rounds of pepper, and if desired, a crumbling of feta or grated parmesan.

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Goodness shared by Stacey

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