I love the unusual combination of flavorings in this dish. The tastes of the cinnamon and ginger really come through, and the bittersweet mixture of lemon and honey, with a sprinkling of currants, adds a perfect finish. Serve this over whole-grain couscous to complement the Middle Eastern flavors. Add a spinach or Swiss chard to complete the meal.
Yield: Serves 6
1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil
2 carrots, peeled and diced (about 1 cup/250 ml)
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 stick cinnamon, about 2 inches (5 cm) long
2 tbsp (25 ml) minced ginger root
1 tsp (5 ml) ground turmeric
½ tsp (2 ml) salt
½ tsp (2 ml) cracked black peppercorns
8 oz (250 g) cremini mushrooms, stemmed and halved
1 can (28 oz/796 ml) tomatoes, with juice, coarsely chopped
3 cups (750 ml) cubed butternut squash or pumpkin (1-inch/2.5 cm cubes)
2 cups (500 ml) canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 tbsp (15 ml) liquid honey
1 tbsp (15 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
¼ cup (50 ml) currants (optional)
1. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add carrots and onion; cook, stirring, until carrots are softened, about 7 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon stick, ginger, turmeric, salt and peppercorns; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Add tomatoes with juice and bring to a boil. Transfer to slow cooker stoneware.
2. Stir in squash and chickpeas. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours or on High for 4 hours, until vegetables are tender. Discard cinnamon stick.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey and lemon juice. Add to slow cooker and stir well. When serving, sprinkle with currants (if using).
Complete Step 1. Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. When you’re ready to cook, continue with the recipe.
Works in slow cookers from 3½ to 6 quarts.
I prefer a strong gingery flavor in this dish. If you’re ginger-averse, reduce the amount.
If you prefer, you can use 1 cup (250 ml) dried chickpeas, soaked, cooked and drained (see Basic Beans), instead of the canned chickpeas.