Moroccan Chickpea Stew

Since the title of this blog is “Stew or a Story,” I knew I eventually needed to whip up a stew recipe, and seeing as stew-eating weather may be on its way out soon, now seems to be the ideal time.

I’m also obsessed with butternut squash and am intent on cooking and eating it as much as possible before it goes out of season.

Enter this stew: Moroccan chickpea.

I usually decide to make a certain recipe after a moment of inspiration. I read a recipe in a magazine or on a food blog. I browse through a cookbook or a co-worker mentions something she cooked last week.

This past week I had the idea of making a stew, but I hadn’t started looking for recipes.

Then, Thursday morning, totally out of the blue, an idea popped into my head: Moroccan Chickpea Stew. I hadn’t seen the recipe anywhere. I’d never eaten anything like it before.  I wasn’t even sure it was a real dish. 

A quick google search confirmed that it was, in fact, a thing. I found a couple different promising recipes here, here, and here, and took bits and pieces from each one to meet my vision: flavorful, veggie-loaded, and crock-pot accessible.

Though I’ve never cooked Moroccan food before, I have eaten it a couple times. It’s usually made in a tagine, a dome shaped ceramic dish that bakes for hours and allows all the steam and liquids released during cooking to drip back down into the food.  When I think of Moroccan food, I think of a big pot of flavorful hearty stew, served family style, with people reaching across the table to grab a spoonful or swipe a piece of bread through the mixture. This is my kind of thing.

Unfortunately, I do not own a tagine, but I do own the next best thing. A crock-pot.

I love my crock-pot. I feel a little embarrassed admitting that, because I know they are not exactly bastions of gourmet cooking.  However, they make food that is delicious and easy, and sometimes on a busy week night, they make a homemade dinner possible.

My crock-pot did not fail me with this stew. Long and slow cooking is the key to this recipe. The medley of spices and flavors is unique but not overpowering, and eating a bowl of it fills you with comfort and warmth. 

Adam is away for the weekend, so I've been home alone. Yesterday it was snowing/hailing/raining on and off all day, so this stew was the perfect thing to cuddle up with on the couch.

Today I went to a yoga class, and half-way through the instructor played the audio for this story about the love of an older couple. I bawled my eyes out. Luckily, it was a hot yoga class, so I was already drenched in sweat and I don't think anyone noticed the tears streaming down my cheeks.

When looking for the link to share with you guys, I heard the video again, and again, I cried.  I'm crying a little bit thinking about it right now. Friends, watch the video, maybe make this stew, and tell someone you love what they mean to you.

Moroccan Chickpea Stew (In the Crock-Pot)

2 tablespoons olive oil (optional)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 cup diced carrots
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and chopped into small cubes
½  tsp ground cinnamon
¼  tsp crushed red pepper (use more here if you like things spicy, or even substitute with cayenne)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp garam masala
¼  tsp tumeric
½  tsp coriander
½ tsp curry powder
1 (14.5-ounce) can chopped tomatoes
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
3 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
4 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 teaspoon sugar
salt and pepper

Optional--Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots and saute until the onions begin to turn translucent and carrots are slightly softened and browning. Add in garlic cook 1 minute more. If you want to skip this step, just throw everything in the crockpot. Precooking the onions will just draw out a little more of their flavor!

Add vegetable mixture into the crock-pot, along with the butternut squash, spices, canned tomatoes, chickpeas, vegetable broth, sugar, salt and pepper.

Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-7 hours.

Before serving, remove 2 cups of chickpea mixture and mash with fork or potato masher. Return to pot. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This would be delicious served over rice or couscous, or, as I ate it, with plenty of crusty bread for dipping.  Also, this recipe makes a LOT. (for not a lot of money!) I will probably end up freezing some of it to enjoy later.

*On a side note, I know this is a long list of spices. If you don’t have them all and don’t want to buy them, I would say the essential ones are the cinnamon, cumin, and curry.


  1. Your stew looks and sounds delicious, thanks for sharing this recipe!