Unfussy Fare

Moroccan-Style Chickpeas with Preserved Lemons


Remember the preserved lemons we made a few weeks back? Well, I introduced mine to some chickpeas and Moroccan spices, and sparks flew. The sturdy, reliable chickpea put on a little lipstick, let down its hair, and danced. It wasn”t one of those dorky, awkward dances, either. The chick pea had moves. It was all thanks to the mysterious powers of preserved lemon, if you ask me.

This Moroccan-inspired chickpea stew is as unfussy as they come. It takes minutes to assemble (assuming you’re lazy like me, and you use canned chickpeas). It simmers largely unattended, and it melds into an irresistible bouquet of piquant and flowery, sweet and savory. We had ours with grilled lamb chops (simply marinated in lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper). We were reduced to moans and raised eyebrows in lieu of conversation until we’d eaten every last morsel.

If, for some incomprehensible reason, you were not inspired to make preserved lemons a few weeks back, you can buy them at middle-eastern markets, Whole Foods, or gourmet shops.

serves six as a side dish, adapted from this recipe in Gourmet (RIP)

3 tablespoons olive oil
½ medium onion, diced small
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cayenne
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5-ounce can small-diced tomatoes, with juice
2 15.5-ounce cans chick peas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 ½ tablespoons minced preserved lemon peel
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped parsley

Heat olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat.

Add onion and spices and sauté for about five minutes.

Add garlic and sauté for about thirty seconds.

Add tomatoes with their juice, chick peas, preserved lemon peel, raisins, and a half cup of water. Stir. Lower heat until the stew is barely simmering. Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more water if it starts to look dry.

When you’re ready to eat, sprinkle with parsley and serve.

On another note, I have to tell you I was mighty flattered to be tapped for a “One Lovely Blog” award by The Hungry Dog. Thanks, Hungry! I never win anything! My mission now is to pass on some blog-love by calling out some of the lovely blogs I favor:

You probably know about The Wednesday Chef already. Still, I’d be remiss if I didn’t send a shout out to my favorite food blogger, Luisa Weiss. Reading The Wednesday Chef feels like sharing some laughs with an old friend over the cutting board and a glass of wine. Her prose seems so effortless. And her love of food is contagious.

Jess at Hogwash has a gift for shining a light on the intersection of food and life. I’m impressed by the many graceful ways she weaves the common threads of humanity into her kitchen creations.

Redmenace at A Chow Life has created a stylish site, replete with enticing recipes, great pictures, and an endearingly quirky outlook.

Joseph at Gastronomer’s Guide takes gorgeous pictures. I admire the classy look of this blog. His recipe picks are elegant and inspiring.

I’m grateful to all you food bloggers out there for sharing your recipes and thoughts. I didn’t realize when I started this blog that I’d be stumbling into such a generous and creative community. Thanks!

15 Responses to “Moroccan-Style Chickpeas with Preserved Lemons”

  1. redmenace says:

    This looks fantastic. Thank you for the recipe and the shout-out too. Love the blog!

    RIP Gourmet.

  2. yay! thank you, I’m always looking for new things to do with preserved lemon, and this sounds like the perfect thing as the weather turns cooler…

  3. nate says:

    Mmmmm. This looks good. There are two cans of chickpeas in my cabinet that are about to get a makeover.

  4. Gillian says:

    Redmenace: Thanks! Likewise,I’m sure.

    Blue Jean Gourmet: Next up, chicken braised with green olives and preserved lemons. I’m on a preserved lemon bender.

    Nate: Those chickpeas have been sitting there wondering when you were going to introduce them to your friends, the preserved lemons.

  5. Frenchie says:

    I have been wanting to try preserved lemons for awhile now but I am a little scared because I almost never like lemon peel. This recipe just make give me a reason to try this, chickpeas are one of my favorite foods and I just know that a chickpea stew would make an ideal dinner. I will let you know when I try it out.

  6. Gillian says:

    Hi Frenchie: You might like preserved lemon. It retains the flowery side of the lemon flavor, but exchanges the bitterness for a more mellow saltiness. It’s still lemon, though…I hope you like it!

  7. Erika says:

    Hey Gillian,
    I make the preserved lemons (we have a big, old Meyer tree) and this recipe from Gourmet all the time and love them both! The chickpea stew is such a winner. Lots of super recipes lately!

  8. Gillian says:

    Erika: Thanks! Your OWN Meyer lemon tree? Heaven! I guess I better start doing some good deeds if I want to end up spending eternity with my own Meyer lemon tree.

    Even with all my shortcuts, these chickpeas were a hit with my friend who lived in Morocco. She declared them delicious and authentic-tasting, and asked for the recipe. I felt very validated, since I know exactly nothing about Moroccan food (except that I like to eat it).

  9. Kevin says:

    This sounds nice and simple and tasty! A nice way to use some of those preserved lemons in my fridge.

  10. grace says:

    so the chickpea’s a bit of a floozy, is that what you’re saying? :)
    great use for your preserved lemon. i especially like the fact that it’s sloth-friendly. :)

  11. Gillian says:

    Kevin: Hope you like it! Have you tried your lemons with chicken?

    Grace: The chickpea is only a floozy in the nicest possible way. She’s more like one of those librarians who turns out to simmering hot under her serious exterior.

  12. Pamela Perry says:

    There’s a reason they’re not named ‘ladypeas’.

    Can’t wait to try my preserved lemons with the chicken/green olive dish. Let’s get on it, Gil.

  13. Polprav says:

    Hello from Russia!
    Can I quote a post in your blog with the link to you?

  14. Gillian says:

    Polprav: Sure. Thanks for asking. Best, Gillian

  15. Jean says:

    Really delicious! The whole family loved it. Thank you for the fun blog and yummy recipe.

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