The flavors of Morocco make for an excellent twist on traditional chili, and it can be made in a slow cooker. Affiliate links are used in this post to link to items I am discussing.
Sorry for the silence! It has been a crazy week. Conferences (which means baking or cooking for the teachers, in addition to meeting with them), Sammy’s birthday and then her birthday party with her friends, various appointments… just one of those running around like a chicken with your head cut off kind of weeks. Or so I call them anyway.
This Moroccan Influenced Chili with Chickpeas and Minted Couscous is a great way to shake up your dinner routine (or your gameday meal, for that matter). It is, frankly, a brilliant idea by the editors of America’s Test Kitchen, which they share in Slow Cooker Revolution, and which is where I got the idea. But you know me, I could not help but fiddle. And truly, my family likes things spicier–meaning spices, not heat–than the editors of ATK do anyway. I used my whole spice ras el hanout–you can use a pre-ground spice blend as well, just toast it first. I also used V-8 juice because I had some around that needed to be used. Last, I added loads of veggies because I prefer my one pot meals with lots of vegetables.
- 2 lbs ground beef
- 1 slice of bread mashed with 1 T 1% milk and 1 T cream (I used a 100% whole grain heel with no problem)
- pinch salt
- 1 T whole spice ras el hanout (if you cannot get whole, just use ground and toast that)
- 1-2 T avocado oil
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 T double strength tomato paste
- 1 t sweet paprika
- 1 t fine ground aleppo
- 1/2 t coarse marash chile pepper
- 1/2 t Moroccan cinnamon (if you cannot find just use Chinese cassia)
- 1/2 t ground ginger
- 1 15-oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
- 10-12 oz V8 vegetable juice
- 1 cup water
- 2 15-oz cans drained and rinsed chickpeas
- 1 large sweet potato, diced
- 1 cup chopped prunes
- 1 red onion, cut into wedges
- 2 medium zucchini, diced
- zest of 2 small/1 large lemons plus juice of 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
Mix the ground beef with the mashed bread with milk and cream. Using your hands, mix in a pinch of salt. Set aside.
Using a small skillet, toast the whole spice ras el hanout until fragrant, 1-2 minutes on medium (if you do not have whole spices, then just toast the ground powder). Then transfer to a coffee grinder and grind into a powder. Set aside.
Heat the avocado oil in a cooktop-safe slow cooker insert or a skillet. Add the onions and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to lightly caramelize.
Add the minced garlic and tomato paste. Stir and continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
Add your reserved toasted ground ras el hanout as well as the paprika, aleppo pepper, marash pepper, cinnamon and ground ginger. Stir to roast the spices, about 1 minute.
Transfer this mixture to the slow cooker insert or place the slow cooker insert onto the slow cooker base.
Stir in the ground beef mixture and cook, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink, about 3 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes, chopped tomatoes, V-8 vegetable juice, water and chickpeas. Stir together.
Cook on low heat for 6 hours or high heat for 3 hours.
Add the sweet potato, prunes, red onion and zucchini. Mix in. Cover and cook another 2 hours on low and 1-2 hours on high.
Mix in lemon juice and lemon zest. Taste for more lemon juice and salt and black pepper. Serve over the minted couscous (see below).
- 1 1/2 cups couscous
- 2 T extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 t fine sea salt
- 2 cups boiling water
- 2-3 T chopped fresh mint
- salt and pepper to taste
Place the couscous and olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir continually until the couscous is roasted light brown, 3-5 minutes.
Remove from skillet and place in a large bowl.
Place the salt into the boiling water and then pour the boiling water over the couscous.
Immediately cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit for about 12 minutes.
Toss the now tender couscous with the chopped mint and season with salt and pepper to taste.