Monday, January 09, 2012

Destination Date Night: Marrakesh

When we got married, the Hubs and I set aside Friday evenings as our regular date night. Sometimes date night means we go out; sometimes it means we stay in and do something special together at home. For Christmas, I gave the Hubs a DVD set that I found at Costco: Jamie Oliver's Food Escapes. It's a 6-volume set in which Jamie Oliver (a.k.a. The Naked Chef) travels to various cities to experience and introduce the viewer to the local customs, culture, and cuisine. My idea behind it was this: for those weeks when a low-budget date night is in order, we'll stay in, watch one of the travelogues, learn something together, and enjoy a home-made (or perhaps take-out) dinner representative (or at least somewhat resembling) the cuisine of the featured country.

This last Friday was our first of these "Destination Date Nights," in which we savored a Moroccan-inspired dish (keep reading for the recipe) and went along with Jamie on his adventures in Marrakesh. The evening ended with an SDP (spontaneous dance party), attended by Brutus (who is still adorned with the ornaments of the season). He's a bit of a wallflower, though.

Moroccan-spiced Chickpea Chili

2 tsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup diced carrot
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 cup crushed tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (29-oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 Tb lemon juice

Heat oil in a dutch oven over med-high heat. Add onion, carrot, and garlic to pan; saute 5 minutes. Stir in spices (cumin through cayenne); cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cilantro and lemon juice. Salt to taste.

This chili has a nice heat to it without being too spicy (for my tastes). Besides being a low-budget wonder, it's also vegetarian (if you use veg broth) and gluten-free (if that's a concern for you). 

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