This is a healthy and hearty vegetarian stew. We ate it over brown Basmati rice with steamed spinach on the side. I loved that it was loaded with warm spices.
The recipe was adapted from Brooklyn’s Kos Kaffe via The New York Times, contributed by Melissa Clark. I used farro instead of barley, used canned beans, and increased the amount of garlic. I also reduced the amount water to achieve a thicker consistency. Nice.
Yield: Serves 8 to 10
For the Baharat Spice Blend:
- 1 T sweet paprika
- 1/2 T ground coriander
- 1/2 T ground cumin
- 1/2 T ground turmeric
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground cardamom
- 1/2 tsp ground allspice
For the Stew:
- 5 T extra-virgin olive oil, more for serving
- 2 leeks, white and green parts, diced
- 1 bunch cilantro, leaves and stems separated
- 1 cup finely diced fennel, fronds reserved (1 medium or 1/2 large fennel bulb)
- 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 1/2 tablespoons baharat spice blend
- 1 small (or 1/2 large) cinnamon stick
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 quarts chicken or vegetable stock
- 1/2 cup pearled barley or farro (I used Trader Joe’s 10 minute farro)
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
- large pinch saffron, crumbled
- 4 cups cooked beans or chickpeas (I used 2 15-oz cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
- 2 cups peeled and diced butternut squash (1/2 large or 1 small squash)
- 3/4 cup peeled and diced turnip (1 medium)
- 1/2 cup red lentils
- plain yogurt, for serving (I used Greek yogurt)
- aleppo pepper or hot paprika, for serving
- brown Basmati rice, for serving, optional
- Make the baharat spice blend. Set aside.
- Cut leeks in half, slice into half moons, and soak in a bowl of water. Drain and finely chop in a food processor.
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat oil and cook leeks until they begin to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. (I used a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven.)
- While the leeks cook, finely chop the cilantro stems, fennel and garlic in a food processor.
- Stir the cilantro stems into the pot, along with diced fennel and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
- Stir in baharat, cinnamon and tomato paste, and cook until paste begins to caramelize, about 2 minutes.
- Stir in broth, 1 cup water (water can be omitted for a thicker consistency), the barley/farro, and the salt. Bring to a gentle boil, stir in saffron, if using, and reduce heat to medium. (The original recipe uses 3 cups of water- increase for a more soup-like consistency, as desired.)
- Simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. (I simmered the stew for 20 minutes because I used par-cooked farro.)
- Stir in beans, squash, turnip and lentils; cook until barley/farro and vegetables are tender, about another 30 minutes.
- Taste and adjust seasonings, if desired. Remove cinnamon stick.
- Ladle stew into bowls. (I served it over rice.)
- Spoon a dollop of yogurt on top and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with cilantro leaves, fennel fronds and Aleppo pepper or paprika, as desired.