Although it's not the most creative title, here's a veggie stew I put together using an abundance of fresh produce from the farmer's market. It's as simple as chopping the veggies up and throwing them in a pot with some seasonings, but it does make for a wonderfully savory meal, infused with the evocative spices of North Africa.
Most of the umami comes from the onions and tomatoes, so make sure you get the onions a bit caramelized, and be sure to use nice, vine ripened tomatoes. I've always been too lazy to scrape out the seeds of tomatoes (plus it seems like such a waste), but for those like me, you've actually been doing the right thing. It turns out that most of the glutamates (yes, the natural cousin to monosodium glutamate... aka MSG), hangs out in the jelly that surrounds the seeds. By scraping out the seeds, you're actually scraping out a lot of the flavor.
I served this with some red and yellow quinoa for some extra protein, but it would also work great with some couscous or flat bread. One of the great things about this stew is that you can really use just about any veggie. Squash, okra, green beans, carrots, or pumpkin would all work with the tomatoes and onions.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small onion
- 1 small red bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon coriander
- ½ teaspoon harissa (to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
- 3 small tomatoes ripe
- 1 cup romano beans chopped
- 1 eggplant Japanese or Chinese
- ¼ cup pitted green olives sliced in half
- salt to taste
- Heat some oil in a pan and sauté the onions until they start caramelizing. Add the bell peppers and cook for a few minutes more, until they are nice and soft. Add the cinnamon, turmeric, coriander, harissa, ginger, and cumin and continue frying until the spices are fragrant.
- Add the rest of the ingredients, along with some salt. Allow it to cook uncovered over medium low heat until the beans are tender, about 40 minutes. Taste and add some more salt if necessary. If your tomatoes weren't particularly ripe, you might also want to add a bit of honey.
- If you want to give it a bit more color, chop up some parsley and stir it in at the last minute. Serve with some quinoa, couscous, rice, or flatbread.