Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

Moroccan Chick Pea Soup

The blend of flavors in this soup are so delicious. There is a very bold taste without being overly spicy.  Great on a day like today when it is overcast and somewhat dreary outside.   Actually just good anytime…  I don’t do it in this particular recipe but you can also make my Moroccan inspired meatballs and add them to this dish to make it a little more hearty for you meat lovers out there. 

Ingredients list:

4 Tbs olive oil

1 1lb bag of dried chick peas, cooked and drained

About 12 cups of unseasoned tomato juice 

4 onions, rough chopped

4 jalapeño peppers chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

1 whole pod garlic, finely chopped

1- 2″ node fresh ginger, finely chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 Tbs garlic powder

1 Tbs onion powder

1 Tbs cumin

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Zest and juice of a lime

3 – 4 chicken bullion cubes

1 lg can coconut milk

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Heat the olive oil in a medium stock pot over high heat.  Add the onions, peppers and celery.  Reduce heat to medium/high and Sauté until somewhat golden, 8-10 minutes, stirring often.  Add the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté another minute, stirring constantly so garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the wine.  Stir for about 30 seconds the pour in the tomato liquid and the chick peas.   Add the salt,pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, bullion cubes & cumin.  Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, and Basil.  Bring all of this back to a slow boil and make sure all of the ingredients are blended well.  Reduce heat to medium low, cover and let cook for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot.  If it is, reduce the heat to low, cover and continue cooking.  After 30 minutes, uncover and let it continue to cook on low for another 30 minutes, stirring often. 

Serve and enjoy!!!

Moroccan Inspired Meatballs

Moroccan Inspired Meatballs

Moroccan Inspired Meatballs

Moroccan Inspired Meatballs

Honestly, I can’t say enough how much I have just fallen in love with the Moroccan flavors.  So robust and rich!  I have alway made the traditional Italian meatballs which are absolutely fabulous but the Moroccan flavors bring a nice change and turn the dish into something completely different.  I have included how to cook spaghetti squash in this recipe.  We like to eat somewhat low carb but I know it isn’t for everyone.  If so, use what ever pasta you have on hand or is your favorite.

Ingredients List:

*Note*  this recipe makes more meatballs than you will actually use to serve 4 – 6 people.  You can cut it in half or make the meatballs and freeze the extra for later.  I actually prefer to have the extra in the freezer and can pull them out for a rainy day when I don’t feel like cooking.  

1/2 cup extra Virgin Olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 whole pod (about 7 – 8 cloves) fresh garlic, chopped

1/4 cup white wine

3 lbs ground sirloin

3 lbs ground sweet Italian sausage

2 TBS ground ginger

2 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS garlic Powder

1 TBS onion Powder

1 TBS kosher salt

2 tsp smoked paprika

2 tsp chili powder

1 tsp course ground black pepper

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup panko bread crumbs

3 fresh eggs, slightly beaten

1/2 – 3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 spaghetti squash

olive oil spray

kosher salt

coarse ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over high heat.  When hot, add the onions and sauté until soft and slightly golden.  Add the fresh chopped garlic and let it sauté for another minute.  Stir it often so the garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the white wine and let the alcohol cook off, about 30 – 45 seconds.  Remove from heat and let it cool off somewhat before adding it to the meat.

Put both of the meats in a large mixing bowl.  Add the ginger, cumin, smoked paprika, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, cilantro, parsley, bread crumbs, and eggs.  Gently but thoroughly mix all of the ingredients together.  The key is not to “pack” the mixture too much but you definitely want all of the spices and flavors equally distributed through out the meat mixture.  Use an ice-cream scooper to gently form the meatballs.  Place them on a baking sheet lined with tinfoil.  Put them in the refrigerator to let them firm up a bit before cooking them.  While the meatballs are getting all firmed up in the fridge, make your tomato sauce and cook the spaghetti squash.  If using regular pasta, cook pasta of your choice according to package directions but wait until 10 – 15 minutes before you are ready to assemble the dish.

To cook the meatballs, heat 1/2 cup olive oil in a large skillet over high heat.  Add the meatballs and reduce heat to medium.  Brown them on all sides. You will probably have to do this in batches.  Return them to the baking sheet.  Put them in the preheated oven for about 10 -12 minutes.  Set them aside until everything else is done and you are ready to assemble the dish.

For the spaghetti squash, cover a baking sheet with tin foil.  Carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds and discard.  Place the squash on the baking sheet, cut side UP!  Generously spray them with the olive oil spray and season them with salt and pepper.  Place in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let them sit until ready to use.

Moroccan Sauce with Harissa:

Ingredients List:

6 – 28 oz. whole tomatoes, drained but reserve liquid.

1 /2 cup harissa paste (note: harissa is hot! My sauce has a little “kick” to it so you may want to      adjust how much you use.)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 large yellow onion, chopped

1 whole pod garlic (about 7 – 8 cloves), chopped

1/2 cup white wine

1 1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 1/2 tsp black pepper

3 – 4 chicken bullion cubes

1 TBS cumin

1 TBS corriander

1 TBS ginger

1 TBS garlic powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 tsp smoked mild paprika

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

Zest and juice of a lime, plus more for garnish

Bouquet garni of fresh oregano, parsley, and cilantro ( I actually used the stems from the fresh cilantro that I chopped for the sauce)

Fresh goat cheese for topping

Put the drained tomatoes and the harissa in a deep bowl or pot and blend with an emulsion blender until somewhat smooth.  Set aside until ready to use.

In a medium/large pot, heat the olive oil over high heat.  Add the onions and sauté until soft and somewhat golden.  Add the chopped garlic and continue to saute for another minute stirring so that the garlic doesn’t burn.  Pour in the wine!  Stir it for about 30 seconds and add the tomato and harissa mixture.  Add 2 cups of the reserved liquid from the tomatoes.  Add in all of the spices, fresh herbs, and lime juice.  Bring it up to a slow boil, reduce the heat to medium low and let it simmer uncovered for about 45 minutes, stirring often and adding more of the tomato liquid if necessary.  Always taste your sauces at this point to see if it needs anymore salt, bullion cube, or pepper.

Now to assemble the dish.  Scoop out the spaghetti squash and evenly distribute into individual au gratin or casserole dishes.  Or, if using regular pasta, do the same with the pasta.  Top with about 1/2 cup of the sauce.  Place two or three meatballs into each dish.  Top with more of the sauce and crumble the desired amount of goat cheese on top.   Return to the oven and cook for 10 – 15 minutes.  Drizzle each with fresh lime juice and top with fresh cilantro.