If you are looking for a hearty and flavorful stew then try this Moroccan chickpea and butternut squash stew.
This stew originates from Morocco, a Mediterranean country known for its spices and cooking methods. Traditionally this stew is cooked in a tagine, a shallow cooking dish with a conical lid. The stew is served over a bed of Moroccan couscous.
This recipe was originally shared with my family by a Moroccan friend and it’s been a family favorite ever since. The following recipe contains beef stew but you can omit it and keep it vegetarian, which is just as delicious!
What is Couscous and How to Cook Couscous
Couscous is a grain or ‘pasta’ made from wheat semolina. It’s a staple in North African cuisine. There are several varieties of couscous. Moroccan couscous is the type traditionally used with tagine stews. It’s very small in size and cooks in just under five minutes.
Another type of couscous is pearl couscous, also referred to as Israeli couscous. It is larger in size compared to Moroccan couscous. It also takes a little longer to cook and is chewy and firm.
When buying couscous, look for whole wheat couscous to get the most fiber and nutrients.
To cook Moroccan couscous, use a 1:1 ratio. In a bowl, add 1 cup couscous and pour 1 cup of hot water (or broth). Cover the bowl for 5 minutes; the couscous will absorb all the water. Then remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork. Enjoy!
Moroccan Chickpea and Butternut Squash Stew with Couscous
For the Couscous:
- 1.5 cup couscous
- 1.5 cup hot water
For the Stew:
- ½ medium onion sliced
- 3 cups butternut squash diced
- 2 carrots cut into thick strips
- 2 green zucchinis cut into thick strips
- 1 28 oz-can diced tomato
- 3 cups vegetable broth or water
- 1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
- 1 pound beef stew pieces (or lamb pieces)
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 bay leaf
- salt to taste
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- ½ cup parsley chopped
In a large pot, heat 1 tbsp of canola oil on medium heat. Add the beef stew pieces and brown on all sides for 5-10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Add the onion slices with the beef stew and sauté for a couple minutes.
Add the diced tomato, 3 cups broth, bay leaf, and cinnamon sticks. Mix together, cover, and simmer on medium heat for 60 minutes or until beef is tender. Adjust the liquid if required.
Add the butternut squash and carrots and cook for another 10 minutes.
Add the zucchini and rinsed chickpeas and simmer for another 5 minutes or until all the vegetables have cooked through and the stew has thickened. Do not overcook vegetables.
To prepare the couscous, add 1.5 cups couscous into a bowl. Heat 1.5 cup of water and add it to the couscous. Cover the bowl for 5 minutes, then remove the lid and fluff the couscous with a fork.
To serve the meal, plate the couscous in the middle and add the stew. Sprinkle the chopped parsley and enjoy.
-Another variation of this recipe is to roast the butternut squash in advance. Once roasted add the butternut squash to the stew with the chickpeas.
-You can make this recipe vegetarian by omitting the beef stew. Note that it would take less time to make the stew this way. Start by sautéing the onion, then adding the diced tomato and spices. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the butternut and carrots. Simmer for 10 minutes, then add the zucchini and chickpeas. Simmer for another 10 minutes or until all the vegetables have cooked through and the stew has thickened.