Morrocan-Style Bean Stew with Cous Cous and Sweet Onions.

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I eat lots of pulses and in winter I especially love them in stews. Aparently 2016 is the year of pulses, and we are all being encouraged to eat more of them. So here’s just one way of many to include them in your diet!

This recipe takes about an hour to make and it’s pretty much hands on for the whole hour BUT compared to the time it would take to make an authentic Morrocan tagine that’s quite good. Friends tell me they spend 2-3 hours making a traditional version. The stew component also freezes very well so you can scale it up and freeze in portions with no problem.

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So like I was saying this is not exactly authentic and where I have deviated a lot is with the onions. Normally the stew would be topped with onions and raisins. I didn’t have any raisins at home basically because I don’t like them much so I experimented with dates. I think it’s worked really well and I hope you do too.

As usual I have listed the vegetables I used in this stew but you can change the vegetables for whatever vegetables you usually eat or have right now in your fridge! I also used white cannellini beans and I think most people think of this kind of dish as typically being made with chickpeas. You can use either, in fact when I was in Morroco a few years ago we had stews made with both.

This dish is well worth the time invested in making it. Enjoy!

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Morrocan-Style Bean Stew with Cous Cous

Preparation Time: 30 minutes                            Servings: 4 people                                        Cooking Time:       30 minutes                                                                                                           Total:                        1 hour

For the stew:

1 onion

1 clove of garlic

1 slice butternut squash

1 carrot

1/2 courgette

1 small turnip

2-4 tsp of ras-el-hanout (according to your personal spice preferences.)

a pinch of salt

570g cooked cannelini beans (1 large jar)

1 vegetable stock cube

water (filtered)

For the cous cous:

2 cups raw wholemeal cous cous

1 tsp salt

2 1/2 cups of water

1 tbsp extra virgen olive oil

For the onions:

1 large onion

4 dates

a pinch of salt

1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp extra virgen olive oil

  1. Peel and chop all the vegetables.
  2. Saute all the vegetables with a pinch of salt in a large saucepan for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the ras-el-hanout and stir for about two minutes.
  4. Add two cups of water.
  5. Drain and rinse the cannelini beans. Add to the pan. Add more water so that the beans are covered by about an inch of water.
  6. Add stock cube to pan.
  7. Cover and bring to the boil then reduce to a medium heat and simmer for about 1/2 an hour.
  8. While the stew is cooking, make the onions.
  9. Cut your onion in half and then into thin slices.
  10. In a small fryingpan, put the olive oil, the onions and a pinch of salt. You are going to leave them there for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally on a VERY LOW HEAT. You want them to caramelise but not brown.
  11. Meanwhile, put the dates in a bowl and cover them with water.
  12. After about twenty minutes throw the soaking water away except for about 4 tablespoons. Take the stones out of the dates, return them to the bowl with the reserved soaking water.
  13. Mash the dates and the water with a fork until you have a lumpy liquid, disgusting looking mixture.
  14. Add the balsamic vinegar to the bowl and pour over the onions.
  15. Evaporate the water off the onions, take the pan off the heat and set aside.
  16. Now make the cous cous.
  17. Put the water in a saucepan and bring to the boil.
  18. When boiling add the oil and salt and then the cous cous.
  19. Take off the heat, cover with a lid and set aside for 5 minutes until all the water is absorbed.
  20. To serve put a layer of cous cous on the plate, add plenty of stew with plenty of the cooking liquid and top with the onions.

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