Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How About That? It's Vegan. - Morrocan Stew

A wet gray afternoon calls for breaking out the fall recipes. Even though I have a slight hunch that this cloudy episode won't last too long (Indian Summers are summer in the Bay Area) I don't mind taking at least one day to pretend fall has already arrived. That means breaking out the hearty stews, the dutch oven, and putting my saute pan to good use.

And wouldn't you know it? Turns out this recipe is vegetarian, actually, vegan without my even noticing. How about that? When something is this hearty, you don't miss the meat. A perfect accompaniment to the chill and the sound of the rain outside. I think my sister gave me a version of this recipe years ago. I found it scrawled in an old college notebook, between my astronomy notes and some Shakespearean soliloquies. Obviously my mind was elsewhere. Go figure.

I love the use of the artichoke brine as a component of the broth for this dish. It's like a flavor freebie.

Moroccan Stew

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper
1 cup green beans
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
1 13oz can artichoke hearts, drained and halved (reserve the brine)
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and halved
1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 tsp thyme
pinch of saffron
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until the onions are translucent. Add thyme, potatoes, green beans, bell pepper and tomatoes. Cook over medium high heat for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add vegetable stock and brine from the artichokes, simmer covered till the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Stir in halved artichokes, olive and saffron. Continue to simmer gently for another 5-10 minutes. Add lemon juice, parsley and salt and pepper. Serve over couscous, quinoa or with bread.

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