Dear Leipglo readers,
I’m a musician based in Leipzig. I have come to Leipzig from Australia in 2003 to study at the Musikhochschule, and stayed here ever since. Apart from playing the violin professionally, my other passion is cooking and baking.
I wish to share my love with you through this new column containing recipes and grocery shopping tips in Leipzig.
Spring has officially arrived in Leipzig. Tuesday farmer’s market in the city was more bustling than usual. A few stands were selling the prized white asparagus already, but April is too early for spring vegetables. To eat seasonally in winter to early spring here usually means having 5 or 6 different kinds of brassica vegetables in rotation, winter carrots or beetroots. *sigh*
It is truly exciting when you feel that the warm weather is here to stay until September. The first glimpse of spring in Leipzig can be found when the smell of allium can be sensed in and around the parks and forests. The first year I arrived in Leipzig almost 18 years ago, I could not figure out where and from what the strong scent is coming from. It took me about a year until a friend told me about this curious, wide leaf herb called Bärlauch, or ramson in English, that grows in abundance here.
Today’s recipe is a vegetable stew that can be made with any hardy winter vegetables you have in your crisper drawer. The spices are used often in North African cuisines. Chermoula is a herb relish also from North Africa. The version below is made with Bärlauch instead of garlic.
Moroccan Spiced Vegetable Stew with Bärlauch Chermoula
*Any hardy vegetables can be substituted for the vegetables listed below.
- 1 small bunch fresh coriander (also known as cilantro in North America)
- 1 small handful Bärlauch. 1 garlic clove can be substituted.
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 preserved lemon, skin only, lightly rinsed. (optional but highly recommended)
- 1 green or red chilli, seeds removed for less heat
- 1 Tbsp lemon juice
- Zest of one lemon, preferably organic
- 3 Tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper, to taste
For the Stew
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1.5 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp Harissa paste
- 1 can of tomatoes
- 1 can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 200g carrots, chopped into small bite-sized pieces
- 400g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into small bite-sized pieces
- 1.25 l vegetable stock
- A bunch of swiss chard, ribs and leaves separated. Kale leaves can be substituted.
- 100g frozen green beans, defrosted
- Heat a large saucepan with a few glugs of olive oil over a medium heat. Stir-fry the chopped onion and garlic for about 8-10 mins until translucent.
- Add the tomato paste, harissa, and all of the spices. Stir through for about 30 seconds.
- Add the canned tomatoes and its juices into the pan. Break up the tomatoes, if necessary.
- Add the carrots, sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and finely chopped ribs from the chard. Pour in the stock and salt to taste. Bring to a boil. Turn down the heat, and simmer for about 15 mins.
- Meanwhile, make Chermoula. Blend all the ingredients with a blender or a chopper until it resembles a rough paste. Go easy on the salt at first, if using preserved lemon. Salt to taste. Set aside.
- When the sweet potatoes and carrots are just about cooked, add the chard leaves and defrosted green beans. Simmer for about 5-10 mins until tender. Taste for seasoning.
- Serve the stew with a dollop of Chermoula.
-The dried spices can be found in supermarkets or the spice stand at the farmers market on Tuesdays and Fridays on Marktplatz.
– Preserved lemon, sold as “Salz Zitrone” can be found at Casablanca or Le Plaisir Marocain.
– Harissa is available at Casablanca, most organic stores, Asia Laden, or Turkish supermarkets on Eisenbahnstrasse.
– Frozen green beans are also sold as Brechbohnen in the freezer section of any supermarkets.
– Fresh coriander is available at the farmers market on Tuesdays and Fridays on Marktplatz, or the Asia Laden.
– Bärlauch can be found in abundance in Auwald, Rosenthal, or Clara-Zetkin Park. Take a stroll and follow your nose!