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Moroccan Sweet Potato Stew



Serves 4

½ cup dry barley

½ tsp salt


Place in a saucepan, rinse with water to wash away any ‘floaters’ or debris. Cover with 2” of water. Add salt. Bring to a boil. Tilt the lid and simmer gently over medium heat for 45-60 minutes. Add water if needed.


2 cups dry lentils

8 cups water

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper


Place in a medium pot, rinse with water to wash away any ‘floaters’ or debris. Add water, salt & pepper. Bring to a gentle boil. Tilt the lid and simmer gently over low heat for 20-30 minutes.


2 medium potatoes

3 large sweet potatoes       (I prefer the light yellow sweet potatoes, but the orange are fine.)

1 tsp salt

Bowl of water


While the barley & lentils cook, peel and chop the potatoes into 1” pieces. Place them immediately into a bowl of cold water with the salt. This keeps them from turning brown. Set aside.


3 Tbsp olive oil

1 large sweet onion

6 stalks celery

3 cloves garlic

1 Tbsp Provence herbs

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper


Pour the olive oil into a large soup pot. Chop the onion and celery into ½” pieces. Crush the garlic cloves, peel and chop. Add to pot with spices. Sauté over medium-high heat for 5 minutes.


½ gram Spanish saffron (or more to taste)

3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth


Drain the sweet potatoes and add to the stew along with the saffron and 3 cups broth. Cover and simmer over medium heat for 20 minutes until the potatoes are soft. Remove about 2 cups of the vegetables and mash or process with a mixer to form a paste. Return the paste to the pot to thicken the stew.



When the barley is tender, drain and add to the stew. Add more broth if desired.


12 stalks asparagus

Chop the asparagus into 1” pieces and steam for 10 minutes or so until crisp tender. If you are not serving immediately, rinse in cold water to cool, and reheat later.



Serve the stew in a shallow bowl along side the lentils. Top with asparagus.



Spicy Sautéed Shrimp


Prepare the shrimp (click for recipe) and serve in the same bowl as the stew.


I suggest serving the stew with warm pita bread, hummus and olive tapanade.


I was craving saffron-infused paella and did not have all of the ingredients, so I invented this dish. I am sure it is not authentic Moroccan, but it is what I imagine Moroccan to be!

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