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Archive for March 18th, 2012

I’m always intrigued as to what draws a person to a recipe. It’s so personal and subjective, yet the food made from the recipe tantalizes taste buds whether you chose the recipe or not. Friday night JT wanted to make mussels, but we were a tad tired of the same old white wine sauce and we had just had a green curry so that was out. He scoured the net and was drawn to a Moroccan style mussel which included chick peas. Now I am trying to cut carbs down considerably (that’s actually JT’s bread he snuck onto my plate for the photo) and when I read the recipe I was immediately drawn to the chick peas…would they be satisfying enough that I wouldn’t need bread? That was the question.

When I first announced that we had planned a trip to Morocco, Greg at Rufus’ Food and Spirits Guide kindly emailed me a link to an article that discussed the merits of  traditional Moroccan cuisine in comparison to Modern Moroccan cuisine and we were so intrigued that we bought the cookbook. It’s been sitting on my kitchen desk and when I have any moment, I page through the lovely photos. Sadly, the recipes are very complex, often involving mixes of pastes and such that I do not have ready (a traditional Moroccan household would) so I have been unable to find something easy enough to make. Fast forward to Friday night: JT scouring the net for a recipe for mussels. He finds one on Epicurious. We have all the ingredients at home and it sounds like it would be fantastic. The spices were definitely a tip of a hat to Morocco.

HEY! Who snuck that piece of bread in my shot?

Moroccan Style Mussels with Chick Peas

Original recipe is from Epicurious, JT modified his version, of course

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium onion, coarsely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika (preferably hot)
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch cayenne
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 (15- to 19-oz) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes
  • 1 1/2 lb cultivated mussels, scrubbed and beards removed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup low sodium chicken stock

Directions:

  1. Cook onion, garlic, and spices in oil in a 5- to 6-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until onion is softened, about 6 minutes.
  2. Stir in vinegar and simmer 1 minute.
  3. Add chickpeas, sugar, tomatoes, raisins and chicken stock and increase heat to moderate and gently simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 15 minutes.
  4. Add mussels and return to a simmer. Cover tightly with lid and cook until mussels just open wide, 3 to 6 minutes. (Discard any mussels that remain unopened after 6 minutes.)
  5. Serve Immediately.

The verdict? A M A Z  I N G! I not only did not NEED the bread, I did not WANT it. The chick peas were satisfying and filling AND the broth? What can I say, pass that spoon over please. This is going to make repeated appearances in our house, for sure!

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