Before I moved to Brooklyn, I lived in the West Village in Manhattan for 5 years. I absolutely loved living there. Despite being in the heart of New York City, it really feels like a cute little neighborhood, with tree-lined streets and brownstones and families galore. It was very similar to the neighborhood where I live now in Brooklyn, but the restaurant situation is on a whole different level. Some of the best restaurants in NYC can be found in the West Village, and the variety of cuisines is incredible. Italian? Check. Sushi? Check. Brazilian? Check. Ethiopian? Check. You get the picture.
Anyway, one of my favorite meals to eat out is brunch. For me, there’s not much I would rather do on a weekend than get together with girlfriends at lunchtime to eat breakfast food and drink mimosas, especially on a patio on a nice day. The only complaint I ever have with a girls’ brunch is that a lot of brunch menus look almost exactly alike. You can pretty much predict there will be some sort of omelette, an eggs benedict or florentine, pancakes or waffles, potatoes, bacon, sausage. You know, the classics. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classics, but I really appreciate it when a restaurant thinks outside the box a little with their brunch menu. Variety is a good thing. One of my favorite brunch spots in the West Village, Joseph Leonard, mixes it up with some pretty unique regular menu items, plus every weekend they have a different brunch special.
One weekend, I went to brunch at Joseph Leonard and their special that day was a Moroccan chickpea stew topped with a poached egg. I was intrigued, so I had to try it. It was the absolute best brunch I’ve ever had. The spices in the stew created a flavor bomb, and I am always in love with a perfectly poached egg on anything. I wanted to bathe in the meal in front of me, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it since.
In my quest to recreate that magical meal, I ended up with what has turned out to be my go-to batch recipe for busy weeks. This Moroccan chickpea stew is so flavorful – you get complex Moroccan flavor with just a little spiciness, then there’s a little pop of sweetness from golden raisins. Yum! Not only do I eat it for breakfast or brunch with a poached egg and toast, but I also eat it for lunch with tomato & cucumber salad, tsatziki and pita bread, or for dinner I’ll eat it over basmati rice or couscous with a dollop of Greek yogurt. You could also use it as a base for baked eggs. It’s so versatile and happens to be really easy to make using your slow cooker, too. Set it and forget it!
Moroccan Chickpea Stew
Serving Nutrition: 180 calories, 6.1 g protein, 3 g fat, 772 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp ras el hanout
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 large or 2 small potatoes, diced
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (28 oz) can whole tomatoes
1 large carrot, diced
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 (15 oz) can low sodium chickpeas, drained & rinsed
1 bunch fresh kale, chopped, or 1 (8 oz) package frozen kale
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable stock
1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
1. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat, then add onions and sauté for 2 minutes.
2. Add garlic and all spices and cook, stirring frequently, for another minute or 2, or until mixture becomes really fragrant.
3. Add onion and spice mixture to slow cooker (3.5 quarts or larger).
4. Add all other ingredients to slow cooker and stir to mix well.
5. Cover and set to cook on high for 4 hours.
6. Come home from work to an amazing home-cooked meal that makes your house smell like heaven.
7. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro if you have it and enjoy!
Note: if in a hurry, you can skip steps 1 and 2 and just put everything in the slow cooker and go, but these extra 2 steps really open up the flavors in the spices and make them pop.