Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Moroccan vegetable stew

Whoever knew soup with turnips could be so tasty?

No one ever thinks of turnips, especially not this time of year. Everyone's gone and swooned themselves silly over spring vegetables, meanwhile turnips perch in a purple heap like so many forgotten toy tops. I would've looked right past them, too, were it not for this recipe.

This soup is the perfect bridge-the-gap meal, something to tide you over between the last of winter's root crops and the first of the spring greens. The marriage of earthy carrots and turnip with scallions and fresh spinach, with some fresh herbs and toasted spices thrown in... and topped with spicy yogurt sauce, for good measure? Well, it's a downright satisfying meal.

But first, a few notes. 1) Harissa is surprisingly hard to find, but very easy to make. 2) The liquid leftover from cooking the root vegetables can be used as soup stock, and that is awesome. 3) Couscous on top makes everything even better. 4) Our bowls of pretty soup, once topped with couscous and gobs of pink yogurt sauce, were pretty ugly, which is why you don't see them here.

Moroccan-Style Vegetable Stew with Harissa Yogurt Sauce from Bon Appetit

Yogurt Sauce:
1 cup (8 ounces) Greek-style yogurt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon harissa sauce (or substitute a teaspoon of your favorite hot sauce)
1 garlic clove, minced

1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into rounds
1 3/4-pound turnip, peeled, cut into bite size pieces
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound scallions, coarsely chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used cooking wine)
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
1 15-ounce can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained, rinsed
1 5-ounce bag baby spinach
1 to 3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

For the yogurt sauce: Simply whisk all ingredients together, and chill.

For the stew:

Bring 8 cups water to boil in heavy large saucepan. Sprinkle with salt. Add carrots; cook until just tender, about 4 minutes. Using skimmer or large slotted spoon, transfer carrots to large bowl of ice water. Return water to boil. Add turnip; cook until just tender, about 3 minutes. Using skimmer, transfer turnip to bowl with carrots. Reserve cooking liquid.

Melt butter in heavy large pot over medium heat. Add next 7 ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cook until onions are soft, stirring often, about 8 minutes. Add wine; simmer until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour. Add carrots, turnip, beans, spinach, and 2 cups reserved cooking liquid. Bring to simmer; cook until vegetables are heated through, adding more cooking liquid for desired consistency. Season stew to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Divide stew among bowls. Spoon dollop of yogurt sauce over and serve.

Pink azalea.
Canada mayflower.


zoe said...

Yummy soup. I think all soups taste better with some yogurt. Kudos on making your own yogurt sauce!

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