Pumpkin Chickpea Stew

Pumpkin Chickpea Stew

Something Different
I don’t know about you, but for me, the hardest thing to around Thanksgiving is to figure out what to eat. I know that sounds strange…but let me explain. This time of year I spend a lot of time looking at seasonal and Thanksgiving-related recipes and talking about new possibilities. As you might expect the seasonal recipes are dishes that could easily be appropriate for the Thanksgiving table. So, it can be difficult to try recipes for Thanksgiving without getting Turkey Day burnout. Obviously, I am not cooking a turkey every night but the side dishes are a different story.

Of all the holidays we celebrate during the year, Thanksgiving, for the majority of my immediate family, is the favorite. (I’m still a Christmas hold out.) So, while I am trying out new recipes, I have to make sure I don’t wreck the anticipation for the big day. If you’re eating sweet potatoes and stuffing for the days leading up to the meal you could see why excitement for the main event could wane. This is why, while I’m looking for new stuff, I am also on the lookout for different things to do with the same ingredients. Pumpkins are a perfect example.

Pumpkins can be used for more than just pies. They can be filled with cheese and other buttery goodness and roasted. They can be tossed into fresh pasta or spicy curries. Pumpkins are the taste of fall but, during the month of November, I look outside the traditional flavors and look towards other cuisines where pumpkins are year-round—which, for me, means North Africa.

It is no secret that I love Moroccan food and, thankfully, Morocco loves their pumpkins and squashes. If you find yourself with a leftover Cinderella pumpkin from Halloween or if you just can’t bring yourself to make a pie yet, give this recipe a try for a little something different.

Pumpkin and Chickpea Stew
Adapted from The New Book of Middle Eastern Food by Claudia Roden
Yields 6 servings

1-pound piece orange pumpkin
1 large onion, sliced
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1-2 teaspoons sugar
Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon harissa
15 ounce can chickpeas, drained
3 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Peel the pumpkin, remove any seeds and fibrous bits, and cut the flesh into pieces.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-low heat and add the sliced onion. Cook the onions until golden, stirring occasionally. Add minced garlic to onions and cook until fragrant, about a minute.

Add the chopped tomatoes, sugar, salt, pepper, and harissa. Stir well. Add the chickpeas and pumpkin.

Moisten with 4-5 tablespoons water and simmer, with the lid on until the pumpkin is tender (about 20 minutes). If the pumpkin becomes too dry during cooking, add a little more water.

Sprinkle the parsley over pumpkin stew and serve hot.

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