Today’s recipe: North African bean stew with barley and winter squash
This warming, highly spiced stew is rich in beans, grains and chunks of sweet winter squash. Feel free to substitute other grains for the barley. Farro works particularly well. If you’d prefer something soupier, thin it with a little broth or water before serving.
- YIELD8 to 10 servings
- TIME1 hour 45 minutes
- ⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
- 1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1/2 large fennel bulb)
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 ½ tablespoons baharat (see note)
- ½ cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- ½ cup pearled barley
- 2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- Large pinch saffron, crumbled (optional)
- 4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas
- 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1 small squash)
- ¾ cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
- ½ cup red lentils
- Plain yogurt, for serving
- Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
- Finely chop cilantro stems. Stir into pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes. Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in broth, 3 cups water, the barley and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley is tender, about another 20 to 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Ladle stew into bowls. Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika.
- Baharat is a Middle Eastern spice mix. You can buy it at specialty markets or make your own. To make it, combine 2 tablespoons sweet paprika, 1 tablespoon ground coriander, 1 tablespoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 2 teaspoons black pepper, 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg, 1 teaspoon ground cardamom and 1 teaspoon allspice.
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