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.
- Serves: 8 persons
- ⅓cup extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 2leeks, white and green parts, diced
- 1bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
- 1cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1/2 large fennel bulb)
- 3garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 ½tablespoons baharat (see note)
- ½cinnamon stick
- 2tablespoons tomato paste
- 2quarts chicken or vegetable broth
- ½cup pearled barley
- 2 ½teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- Large pinch saffron, crumbled (optional)
- 4cups cooked beans or chickpeas
- 2cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1 small squash)
- ¾cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
- ½cup red lentils
- Plain yogurt, for serving
- Aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
Step 1In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes.
Step 2Finely 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.
Step 3Stir 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.
Step 4Ladle 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.