Moroccan Beef Chickpea Stew

Another great recipe from our resident home chef and chair of our board Deb Abbott. This recipe is a hearty meal for the family or one to keep in your freezer for a rainy day. 
1 Tbsp vegetable oil 
1 pound lean ground beef 
1 medium size onion finely chopped
1 red or orange or yellow pepper diced
1 can of chickpeas rinsed 
1/2 cup raisins or 1/2 cup of chopped dried apricots
1/2 cup pitted and sliced kalamata olives
1.5 Tbsp Xawaash Spice Blend
1 tsp cinnamon 
1 tsp Pili Pili spice blend
1 tsp salt 
1 cup beef or vegetable stock or water
2 tsp cornstarch 
1/2 cup water
Over medium high heat add oil to a large saucepan and saute the onions with the Xawaash Spice Blend, Cinnamon, Pili Pili Spice Blend and salt for about 3 minutes.  Add in the ground beef pepper and saute until the meat is almost cooked through - about 5 minutes.  
Then add the chickpeas, olives and raisins and saute for another minute.  Add in the beef or vegetable stock and gently simmer for 5 minutes or until the ground beef is cooked through.  Mix the cornstarch in a separate small bowl with the water to create a slurry.  Stir the cornstarch mixture into the simmering stew and gently simmer for a further minute to slightly thicken the stock.  
Serve over couscous made with Pilau Masala Spice Blend.  Sprinkle the stew with additional raisins or finely chopped almonds. 
For a vegetarian option you can substitute lentils for the beef and add in a can of rinsed canned red kidney beans or black beans.

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