This recipe is inspired by the chickpea tagine at Tara Kitchen, a Moroccan restaurant in Schenectady, New York.
Ras el hanout, which translates to "head of the shop" or "top of the shop," is a blend of many spices, often including turmeric, paprika, cumin, coriander, cardamom, and cinnamon, to name a few. I purchase mine from Tara Kitchen, but you can find the blend from many sources or you can make your own.
I prefer cooking chickpeas from scratch, but you can use canned chickpeas here with fine results. You'll need two 15-oz cans, drained and rinsed. If you use from scratch-cooked chickpeas, save the cooking liquid for the tagine. —Alexandra Stafford
3 to 4
olive oil plus more for the squash, if using
onion, thinly sliced to yield about 1 1/2 cups
kosher salt to taste
cloves garlic, minced
ras el hanout, see notes above
finely diced cilantro, plus a few tablespoons for sprinkling at the end
4 to 6
Roma (plum) or other tomatoes, finely diced to yield 2 heaping cups
cooked chickpeas, see notes above
white balsamic vinegar
delicata squash, optional, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
If you are roasting squash, preheat the oven to 450° F. Prepare the stew. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it shimmers add the onion and immediately turn the heat down to medium. Season the onion with salt. Cook until the onion softens, stirring occasionally, and turning the heat down if necessary to ensure the onion isn't browning, about 10 to 15 minutes. (A little browning is fine.)
Add the garlic and cook for one more minute. Add the ras el hanout and cook for another minute. Add the cilantro and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, season with a big pinch of salt, and stir to distribute. Cook for another minute, then add the chickpeas, raisins, vinegar, and 1.5 cups of the chickpea cooking liquid (if you cooked the chickpeas from scratch) or water. Bring to a simmer, then adjust heat so mixture is gently simmering. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the liquid hasn't reduced too much. If it gets low, add water by the 1/4 cup.
Meanwhile, if roasting the squash, rub some oil over a rimmed sheet pan. Spread squash over sheet pan. Drizzle with a few tablespoons of oil and season generously with salt. Toss to coat. Spread back into a single layer, then roast for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the underside is nice and golden. Finish the squash by sliding it under the broiler for 2 minutes or until the top of the squash is golden.
When the chickpeas have simmered for about 30 minutes, taste the mixture. Add salt to taste. Because I cook the chickpeas from scratch and use the cooking liquid, which has salt in it, I rarely need to add much salt at the end. If you are using water, you may need to add more salt at the end. Just taste it, and add salt as needed. Stir in the reserved chopped cilantro.
To serve, spoon chickpeas into bowls. Tuck squash aside chickpeas—they're nice to eat together—and serve bread alongside as well.