Moroccan Lamb & Couscous Stew

Moroccan Lamb & Couscous StewWell it’s almost October and it’s time to gear up for colder weather and warmer food! This stew is perfect for the time of year since it’s hearty, spicy, and a perfect belly warmer. The stew is seasoned with coriander, turmeric, cumin, fresh thyme, fenugreek and cinnamon which makes a lovely blend of spices. I used Israeli couscous for this dish and it has a pretty great texture. It almost reminds me of a smaller, savory version of those tapioca balls in bubble tea. The lamb I chose was ground lamb which breaks apart in tender pieces. If desired the lamb can be rolled into meatballs as well. Preserved lemons also add a bit of savory sweetness that enhances the flavor of the lamb and curry. The nice thing about this dish is that it is filling but doesn’t sit too heavy either. This stew goes great with a generous spoon of plain yogurt, chopped cilantro and lemon for garnish.
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Slow Cooker Moroccan Chicken Stew

Moroccan Chicken Stew

It goes without saying that slow cookers are an excellent way to get a great meal together without a lot of time and effort. I’ve made all sorts of Moroccan inspired food but I had never tried using a slow cooker to cook them. This recipe combines a whole chicken, fragrant chili paste, chickpeas and spices together in one flavorful dish. If a whole chicken isn’t on hand, you can always use about 4 lbs of bone-in thighs, drumsticks, etc. I would recommend using bone-in varieties, that way you can make a flavorful stock later! I’ve found that some of my best stocks come from Indian and Moroccan spiced dishes. The slow cooker really allowed the flavors from the chili paste, preserved lemons, garlic and spices to merge together. You can make the Harissa paste a while in advance before you get started and that will help save time. If you don’t have chickpeas on hand, you can easily substitute potatoes in for them. Serve with rice and plain yogurt to cool things down. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.
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African Chicken and Peanut Stew with Yams

African Chicken and Peanut Stew

This stew is a simple and flavorful recipe that combines savory, peanuty flavors with chicken and yams. My favorite part is the gravy that is flavored with peanut butter, toasted red chilis, garlic and fresh ginger. It reminds me a bit of an Indian curry gravy and has a similar consistency to a Massaman Curry. I would suggest using chicken meat on the bone (thighs or drumsticks) to get some of that lovely flavor into the sauce as well. You just have to fish out the chicken after its cooked and shred the meat. If you’re short on time, you can always get boneless/skinless thighs instead. The meat tends to fall of the bone after cooking it slowly for over an hour so it pretty much does the work for you. The combination of the spicy and peanuty gravy with the slow cooked chicken and yams was perfect for a chilly February day! Serve with a side of white or brown rice and garnish with cilantro.
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Chicken and Butternut Squash Stew with Preserved Lemons

This stew is a great combination of Fall and middle eastern flavors. The recipe brings together shredded chicken, butternut squash, chickpeas, Bulgur wheat, preserved lemons and savory spices.  This combination makes a great dinner on a cold night.  Butternut squash has been a favorite of mine for a while and once again it didn’t disappoint!  Another favorite ingredient of mine is preserved lemon which flavored the stew very nicely.  The bulgur, chickpeas and chicken made the stew extra hearty and delicious! I topped the stew with a little yogurt and lemons slices for garnish.

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Ethiopian Chickpea and Cauliflower Stew with Preserved Lemons

To go along my Ethiopian Lentil Curry I chose another Ethiopian-style curry with chickpeas and cauliflower.  One of my favorite things about curry is that both of these dishes can be called a “curry” yet they are both so different and complimentary at the same time.  This stew is a yellow curry seasoned with turmeric, cumin, cardamom, coriander and paprika.  It is more loosely based on Ethiopian chickpea and vegetable stews because I thought it would be fun to embellish it a bit.  I don’t think preserved lemons are found too much in Ethiopian food but they really added amazing flavor to this dish.  The preparation was easy and the result was so tasty! It tasted great with the lentils as well as the Injera bread.

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Tomato Curry Stew with Chickpeas and Potatoes

This stew is a staple recipe for me as it is easy to put together and is healthy and flavorful. When I want something light and healthy this is one of my favorite go to recipes.  I use the slow cooker and all it requires is chopping the veggies and throwing everything in the crock pot to cook for about 8 hours.  All the veggies get nice and soft and the flavors of the curry marinate until the stew is bursting with good curry flavor. I served it with warm curried rolls and topped with yogurt.
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Lentil Stew with Italian Sausage and Spinach

I wanted to kick off October with a good fall soup and lentil stew is a perfect fall and winter dish that is both hardy and healthy.  I had never tried cooking Italian sausage in a soup before and I was happy with the results.  The sausage became very tender through the slow cooking process.  This stew is simply seasoned with bay, oregano, and balsamic vinegar.  The balsamic vinegar gives a nice depth of flavor and the acidity is very nice.  The recipe could be prepared over the stove in a sauce pot instead of a slow cooker, just cook it for 2-3 hours on low. The spiciness of the sausage flavored the broth wonderfully and all this soup really needs is a thick crusted bread to accompany it.

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Chile Verde Roasted Pork Stew

Since I had several pounds of shredded pork, I decided to make a stew out of the leftovers.  This stew is an interpretation of a chile verde pork stew but with an addition of red chili flavors.  Chile verde with pork is usually green and looks a lot like salsa verde.  This stew has the flavors of a green chili with the addition of red chili flavors like paprika, chili powder, and ancho chilis.  It turned out really well and I enjoyed all the layers of flavor this stew had. The recipe isn’t too difficult to throw together and it is a great way to use leftover pork roast. I recommend saving the bone from the pork shoulder and throwing it in this stew for added flavor.

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Beef and Barley Stew


Believe it or not, Californians experience winter too (relatively). It’s gotten colder and rainier now that it’s November, and i’ve been wanting to make a nice, hearty stew. I was excited to try this recipeB because I remember my mom’s beef barley stew from the crock pot. This recipe turned out a lot more savory and different than my mom’s, but it was still very good. I have a modern crock pot that is um, very efficient at cooking (which kind of defeats the purpose of a slow cooker, but whatever). Anyways, I have to be very careful to not over cook meats. A recipe might say to leave everything in for 6-7B hours on low and with my cooker the meat is done in 90 minutes and everything else is raw. This has caused some problems in the past. In order to compensate (since I do really like my crock pot), I have resorted to taking the meat ingredients out and cooking the rest for several more hours. I have a large, 6 quart cooker so if you have a smaller one make sure to use less of everything.

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