This week’s recipe was Moroccan Vegetable Ragout. I found it in a magazine I have that was put out by Fine Cooking, full of delicious sounding soups and stews. Many of the recipes are surprisingly gluten and dairy free, as well as tasty. This recipe caught my eye since it called for kale and sweet potatoes, and I had extras of both to use up. I wasn’t sure about the combination of green olives, honey, and orange juice, all with vegetables, but I was willing to give it a try for the sake of using up some of my vegetables.
Moroccan Vegetable Ragout (The Best of Fine Cooking: Soups and Stews, #34)
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1 3-4 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 2 cups peeled and medium-diced (1/2 inch) sweet potatoes (about 3/4 lb)
- 1 14-16 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes; with their juices
- 1/2 cup pitted green Greek or Italian olives
- 6 tbsp orange juice, preferably fresh
- 1 1/2 tsp honey
- 2 cups lightly packed very coarsely chopped kale leaves (from about 1/2 lb kale)
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
“Heat the oil in a 5-6 qt Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon stick and cumin and cook until very fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the sweet potatoes, chickpeas, tomatoes and their juices, olives, orange juice, honey, and 1 cup water; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potatoes are barely tender, about 15 minutes.
Stir in the kale. Cover and continue cooking until wilted and softened, about another 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Serve with: a green salad and couscous studded with toasted almonds.”
Yesterday was a day off for us, so we were having a lazy day around the house. That meant Brian was around to help me cook. It is always nice to have a little help with recipes, for stirring the saute pan while I finish chopping something I’d forgotten until after I’d started cooking (a sadly regular problem for me). His help definitely came in handy yesterday. The only olives I could find at the grocery store that were Greek or Italian, rather than Spanish, still had the pits in them. I based my chop-time estimate on previous experience with olives, not realizing how much longer it would take me to chop up olives that still had their pits. The olives were great, bottled in a blend of olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette; I ate plenty of them while chopping. They just took a lot longer to chop than expected.
The recipe says that it serves 3-4, so I assumed it would easily feed the two of us as the sole entree. That was a bit of a miscalculation. This recipe wasn’t bad, but it yielded surprisingly little. Perhaps if it’s served on couscous, with a salad, as recommended, it stretches a lot further. Even so, I’d recommend doubling the recipe if you’re serving more than 3 people. I’d also recommend chopping the olives in advance. For those who eat meat, I think you could easily add meat, such as chicken, either in addition to or instead of the chickpeas.
Overall this was a good recipe. Not the best I’ve tried yet, but the olives gave the soup a nice salty tang, and the orange juice gave it a sweet but acidic bite too. It was certainly nutritious. I’m looking forward to trying more recipes from the same magazine. ‘Tis the season for soups and stews.