A few magazines and cookware catalogs I read, or at least look at, from cover to cover. I store them in a basket. Folded corners mark the special stories and recipes I want to revisit. Periodically the overflowing basket begs to be cleaned out. Its spring cleaning began in earnest two weeks ago, until I came across a year-old Williams-Sonoma catalog. The marked page featured a tempting photo of a yellow, enameled cast iron Dutch oven and a recipe by Mourad Lahlou. All I was missing was the Dutch oven. I quickly went online. Miracle of miracles I found one in my favorite color on sale. As soon as the Dutch oven arrived last Friday, the cooking began…and continued through a couple of iterations. I adjusted and tweaked and refined the Moroccan Chard recipe. Today you reap the benefit.
A few of my favorite things
Ras el Hanout This classic Moroccan spice blend, translated as “top of the shop” brings North Africa to your kitchen with its rich aroma and well-balanced curry-like flavor. Spice merchant’s reputations depend on the quality of their Ras el Hanout. Some blends may include as many as 30 different herbs and spices and flowers.
The Ras el Hanout blend from Williams-Sonoma that I use includes paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger, coriander, turmeric, black pepper, cardamom, allspice, mace, white pepper, rosebuds, nutmeg, cloves, saffron and bay leaves. You can also easily blend Ras el Hanout at home. You’ll find the recipe from Epicurious.com below.
Preserved Lemons I’ve written a lot this past month about preserved lemons and their unique deep lemon flavor. Preserved lemons seem to brighten everything they touch. I’ve included them in recipes for a winter vegetable tagine, a braised fennel dish and hummus.
BTW, I’ll be showing you how to make preserved lemons and sharing the recipe for Hummus with Preserved Lemon in my upcoming Fermentation Workshop on April 26. A great opportunity to taste and learn how to make a number of fermented beverages, vegetables, mustard and jam. I hope you’ll join me.
My new emerald-green enameled cast iron Dutch oven.
Beautiful to look at. Beautiful to cook Moroccan Chard with . . . and oh so much more cooking to come.
Inspired by Mourad: New Moroccan by Mourad Lahlou.
Moroccan Chard makes a brightly flavored side vegetable. Add quinoa and a poached egg and Moroccan Chard becomes a satisfying supper. Stir any leftovers into a bowl of miso broth for a very tasty and comforting breakfast.
Serves 4 as an entrée, 6 as a side dish
Active time: 20 minutes
Total time: 30 minutes
2 large bunches chard, (11-12 ounces each)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ onion, ¼-inch diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 ½ teaspoons ras el hanout (recipe below)
2 tablespoons minced preserved lemon rind
1 ½ teaspoons fresh lemon juice
¾ teaspoon Aleppo, Urfa or other red pepper flakes
½ cup coarsely chopped cilantro.
Salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
1 poached egg per serving
- Cut the stems from the chard. Thinly slice the thickest part of the stems on a diagonal to equal 2 cups.
- Cut the leaves in approximately 1” by 2-3” pieces.
- Warm the olive oil in a large Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed soup pot) over medium heat. Stir in the onion. Cover the pan. Cook the onions until they begin to soften, 4-5 minutes.
- Stir in the crushed garlic, chard stems, ras el hanout and a pinch of salt. Cook 4 minutes, uncovered.
- Add the chard leaves. Sprinkle very lightly with salt. Cover the pan. After 2 minutes, stir everything together. Continue cooking another 3 minutes until the chard is tender.
- Remove from the heat. Stir in the preserved lemon, fresh lemon juice, pepper flakes and cilantro. Adjust the salt to taste.
- Serve drizzled with a little extra virgin olive oil.
- Top each serving with an optional poached egg.
Moroccan Ras el Hanout Spice Blend
Recipe from Epicurious.com
Active time: 5 minutes
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
In a small bowl whisk together all ingredients until combined well. Ras el Hanout can be mixed in advance and stored in an airtight container for about a month.