I say "infamous" because 1. I could live on this stuff during the winter, and 2. this recipe makes a LOT of stew. I typically end up using two pots for this. Seriously. And I always end up with enough for several people, or to freeze in batches for later.
[Please note: TBS = tablespoon; tsp = teaspoon]
BERBER SPICE MIX
1 TBS Allspice Berries (whole, not ground)
1 TBS Black Pepper (whole, not ground)
4 Cloves (whole, not ground)
1/2 TBS Coriander Seed (whole, not ground)
2 TBS Cumin Seed (whole, not ground)
1/2 TBS Fennel Seed (whole, not ground)
1/2 TBS Ground Ginger
Pinch Saffron threads, crumbled
2 TBS Sweet Paprika
1 tsp Hot Paprika (optional, to taste. Or use 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper)
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp Turmeric
Grind the whole spices together (in small batches) in a food processor, old coffee grinder, or mortar & pestle until they are a coarse powder.
Pour the coarse powder through a wire mesh strainer to catch the larger pieces -- you can either discard these or re-grind them to a finer consistency.
Transfer to small, tightly sealable container (an old jam/jelly jar is great for this) and then add in the ground/powdered spices. Seal the container and shake well.
This spice mix can be stored in the refrigerator in a small, tightly sealed glass jar for several weeks or in the freezer for even longer. Also excellent added to couscous, any tomato-based dish, or as a spice rub for chicken, lamb, grilled eggplant, or tofu.
2 TBS Olive or Grapeseed oil
1 1/2 cups Onion, chopped (approx. 2 small onions)
1 cup Green Pepper, chopped (approx. one pepper)
1 cup Red Pepper, chopped (approx. one pepper)
3 cloves Garlic, minced
2 cups Carrots, peeled and chopped (approx. 4 carrots)
2 cups Tomatoes, chopped (or one can of diced tomatoes)
3 cups Potatoes, peeled or well scrubbed and chopped (approx. 4-5 small)
1-2 cups Butternut squash, peeled, seeded, cubed (approx 1 medium)
1/2 cup Raisins (or dried currants)
1 cup Green Peas (frozen work best)
4 cups water or broth (veggie or chicken)
1.5 to 2 TBS Berber Spice Mix (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Heat oil in large stockpot or Dutch Oven. Sauté onions and peppers together until soft, about 5 minutes. Add carrots, sauté for another 5 minutes.
Add garlic and sauté for another minute until garlic is fragrant. Dump in tomatoes, mix well, and cook for another minute or two.
Add water/broth, potatoes, butternut squash, and raisins/currants. Stir well.
Add the Berber Spice Mix, stir well, then turn down the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer for 30 minutes or until the potatoes are nearly done. Stir the pot occasionally to keep veggies from sticking to the bottom and burning.
Add the green peas and cook for an additional five minutes. Taste and add salt or more Berber Spice Mix as needed.
Serve over cooked barley or rice.
[I make this using one box of Casbah brand couscous mix -- the "Nutted with Currants and Spice" flavor. If you aren't using that brand or type, go with approx 1 cup of plain couscous.]
1 box Casbah brand Couscous mix (Nutted with Currants and Spice)
2 TBS Olive or Grapeseed oil
1/2 Small onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
1 to 2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup raw, unsalted sunflower and/or pumpkin seeds
1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes
1 cup green peas, frozen
1/2 cup raisins or dried currants
1 TBS Berber Spice Mix (to taste)
Salt (to taste)
Heat up the oil in a small stock pot or Dutch Oven. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and sauté them until they are fairly soft. Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute until the garlic is fragrant.
Add the sunflower/pumpkin seeds and the Berber Spice Mix to the pot and stir continuously while sautéing them for up to one minute (just until the spices are fragrant -- be careful during this step because it's easy to burn the seeds and spices).
Dump in the can of diced tomatoes (the juice included) to lower the temperature in the pot so that the spices and seeds don't burn. Add one additional can-full of water as well.
When the mixture comes back up to a boil, add the frozen peas and the raisins/currants. Let the mixture return to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for about 4 or 5 minutes. Now is the time to add salt if you need to.
Add the box of couscous mix to the pot and stir well. Let the mixture come back up to a boil, then give it another quick stir, turn off the heat, and cover the pot. Let the couscous mixture sit for about five minutes, then fluff with a fork.