North African-Style Vegetable Stew Recipe
It looks like we’re going to have several more cold and rainy days remaining in our Central Texas winter. Although this recipe originates in North Africa, Tunisia specifically, I altered the recipe slightly to accommodate the available produce in our area for optimal flavor and nutrition.
What makes this stew so unique are the seasonings. Harissa is a spicy, hot chili paste and Tabil is a home-made mixture of garlic and spices crushed into a paste. I used Crowder Peas rather than green peas in the stew because they are in season right now locally. They are a type of cowpea and are commonly used in soul food. If you cannot find fresh or frozen ones then you can substitute with garbanzo beans and/or fava beans which have been pre-cooked.
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
2 lbs. spinach, trimmed of heavy stems, washed well and chopped
1 cup Parsley, leaves only
1 cup Crowder Peas, pre-cooked
2 large turnips, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, diced
2 cups broth, divided (chicken or vegetable)
2 tbls. harissa
Tabil (2 cloves garlic, ¼ cup coriander seeds, 1 tbls. caraway seeds, crushed into a paste)
1 tsp Aleppo pepper
1 tbls. salt
Heat the olive oil in a casserole over medium-high heat and cook the onion, spinach and parsley until the onion is soft and wilted, about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the peas, turnips, carrot and 1 cup of th broth, reduce heat to low and cook, covered, for 40 minutes checking to make sure broth does not evaporate. Add broth if needed but this is being cooked down like a ragout.
Stir in the harissa and tabil together in the remaining 1 cup broth. Add to the pot with salt. Stir to blend, cover and cook for 30 more minutes over low heat. Uncover and cook until everything is tender and unctuous, another 15-20 minutes or so.