Blog post by Radha
Hey there, I’m a new contributor and I’m going to walk you through my rendition of the Moroccan Chickpeas with Chard recipe from the New York Times:
The recipe link has a nice little video and with over 650 people voting, it’s been rated 5 stars. I made about an army’s worth last night and after tasting it I’m pretty sure I’m going to eat it all in a week. It’s that good.
So about a day before, get some dried chickpeas and soak them in water. I used about 2.5 cups dried, and I put them in a bowl with water coming up about an inch over the surface. I checked on them after a day and added more water. Then 12 hours later I got nervous about bacteria and decided to stick my still-soaking chickpeas in the fridge. So, I actually soaked my peas for 2 days.
In the meanwhile, I had to shop for ingredients. I thought in comparison to the recipe maybe I’d used half a pound of chickpeas, so I dialed down on some of the ingredients. Specifically, I used just 1 onion and a medium sized turnip. But I then I just realized I left some things the same, skimped on paprika because I ran out, added extra of other things because I generally don’t measure when I cook and I wanted to finish out what was in my fridge. So, here’s my ingredient list:
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper, mostly seeded and chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, roughly minced
- 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 2.5 tsp salt, plus 1 tsp added at the end to taste
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- .5 tsp paprika (just because I ran out, and I don’t know if mine was sweet or not but it didn’t say sweet on the label)
- .75 tsp ground cinnamon
- .5 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- Pinch of cayenne
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 fennel bulb (didn’t save the fronds)
- 1 large bunch of rainbow swiss chard, stems cut in half inch pieces with scissors, leaves torn into bite size pieces
- 3 medium-sized carrots, peeled & diced
- 1 medium-sized turnip, peeled & diced
- 2.5 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in water to cover for 2 days
- .5 cup dried turkish unsweetened apricots, diced
- 2 tbsp preserved lemon, diced – recipe below
- 2 tbsp honey
- cilantro for garnish
I couldn’t find preserved lemon in my Whole Foods, so I made a quick version. I bought 1 lemon, washed it well, chopped it up and took out the seeds. I put it in a small pot with .5 cup of water, 2 tsp salt and 1 tsp sugar. Then I boiled it for about 25 min, until half the water was gone and the lemon rinds were soft.
That’s the preserved lemon – salty, but tart & tasty!
I let the lemons cool in a bowl as I chopped up everything else, which took QUITE a while.
Whew! Chopper sidekicks recommended.
I used the biggest pot I could find, put in the oil and heated it on high for a minute, added onion & jalapeno then stirred 3 min, added the garlic and ginger and stir 1 min, added all the spices and stirred 2 more min. Then added in the tomato paste and turned down the heat just a little and stirred a minute. Next: the chard stems, carrots, fennel and turnip and stirred that about 8 min. It felt soft enough to me, so I tossed in my chickpeas along with the water that they had soaked in, added another 2 cups of water and turned up the heat to high again.
Once there was a boil going, I put the heat back down to medium-low and covered the pot with a lid. I guess since I had soaked my peas so long, they cooked somewhat fast. So after 30 min they tasted done. But I wanted the flavor to develop more and the water to cook away. So I put the heat on medium-high and uncovered the pot and let it bubble another 25 min. I tasted it again and figured everything was cooked to my liking. So then I added the apricot, preserved lemon and chard leaves. I felt like I wanted a bit more sweetness, so I decided to add honey. And I think I overdid my cayenne pinch, so I added a tsp of salt to balance that out. Let the stew cook another 5 min then I was done!
My massive meal took about 2 hours total for prep & cooking, if you don’t count the 2 days of pea-soaking. I was able to watch half of the US loss the Argentina in the Copa America semi-final during the main cooking time, but I imagine others might spend that time making and fluffing up some couscous.
Here’s the finished product, dressed with a bit of cilantro:
Enjoy rocking the casbah with this dish!