Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew with Israeli Couscous

DSC01319One of the things I’m trying to do this year is eat better. OK, eat more vegetables. I’m trying to be more of a vegetarian. I like most vegetables, except brussel sprouts. No more chicken or meat for me. I’ll still eat fish once in a while, but mostly just vegetables. I have to say I’ve loved the challenge. It’s great to find new recipes to try. This one is one of them.

I bought bunch of butternut squash several weeks ago that needed to be peeled, cut, and put in bags for the freezer. Well, we only got to the peel and cut… then put it in the frig. I knew I wanted to do something with butternut squash and while checking my MANY…like hundreds, of recipe blogs I found this recipe. It’s courtesy of PinchMy Salt.

I have to say this stew was awesome! Like not just a little good but great! It’s a super fast recipe to make too and very hardy. We got out Israeli couscous at Trader Joe’s but I’m guessing you could use rice of something if you don’t have couscous.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. I’d love to hear your comments if you do make it.

Recipe from http://pinchmysalt.com/

Butternut Squash and Chickpea Stew with Israeli Couscous

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
2-inch piece of cinnamon stick
4 canned whole tomatoes
1/2 preserved lemon, pulp removed, rinsed, and minced*
1 ounce dried tart cherries (raisins or other dried fruit may be substituted)
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch cubes (about 2 cups)
1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
4 cups chicken or vegetable stock**
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
chopped cilantro for garnish

Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat.  Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until softened and starting to turn golden.  Add garlic, cumin, coriander, and the piece of cinnamon stick and cook, stirring, for one minute.  Add the tomatoes, crushing by hand as you add them, or crush with a wooden spoon in the pan.  Add all remaining ingredients except for the salt.  Turn up heat and bring soup to a simmer.  Turn heat to low and let simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.  Add salt to taste.  Remove cinnamon stick before serving.  Garnish with chopped cilantro if desired.

Yield: 4 – 6 servings

Recipe Notes: *Zest and juice of one lemon may be substituted for the preserved lemon.  **I used chicken broth for my stew, but vegetable stock may be substituted to make it vegetarian.  For even more flavor, substitute whole spices for pre-ground:  toast whole cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan until fragrant, let cool, then grind in a spice grinder, coffee grinder, or mortar and pestle.  All spices may be adjusted to suit your own taste.

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