North African Chicken and Vegetable Maftoul

Matfoul or matfool is the Palestinian and North African version of “pasta”. Instead of being made with flour though, it is usually made with semolina (couscous) or bulgur, especially in Morocco. For the past century and a half, maftoul has been a traditional holiday or festive food in Palestine and across the Levant generally. Many families continue to make maftoul at home. You can also use the tiny pasta ” beads” known as acini de pepe.

I have a ton of different cookbooks, of all different ethnicities. I try my best to keep them as authentic as I can, but I don’t stress out if I can’t find certain ingredients. And of course, I always change things around, doing my best to keep in the same theme and vein of that culture. Usually this means I add things or make adjustments accordingly to what is available. This is how most people cook all over the world. They adjust to what is readily available in their area.

I made my own version of matfool, using couscous and I served it with a North African chicken and vegetable stew.

African foods, and especially Middle Eastern foods, are known for using a wide variety of spices. Fortunately, I always have a large array of different spices on hand, since I never really know what I am going to cook until I actually start cooking. I like to be prepared for whatever happens, especially in my kitchen. πŸ™‚

For my version of North African stew, I added pumpkin and a variety of squash, as well as tomatoes and sliced olives, making it heartier and more of a one-pot meal. As usual, I had a recipe that was my inspiration, then I recreated it and made it my own. A lot of African countries use pumpkins and squash in their cooking, mostly the countries in the southern parts of Africa. The Africans, and particularly the Nigerians, call pumpkin ugu or ugwu, which is their version of a fluted pumpkin. I obviously did not use this type of pumpkin. I just used one of our own types of local pumpkin instead. I also used up some of the Sweet 100 tomatoes from my beautifully delicious gift of tomatoes from Janet and Bob (I am using my fabulous tomatoes in as many ways as I can). Gift From The Garden

North African Chicken and Vegetable Stew

1 TBSP allspice

1 TBSP cumin

1 TBSP coriander

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp cinnamon

2-3 lbs chicken, cut into think strips

1 onion, diced medium

1 zucchini, sliced

1 crookneck, sliced

1/2 delicata squash, sliced and seeded

1/2 small pumpkin, peeled and seeded, cubed

1 1/2 cups small grape or Sweet 100 tomoates

1 cup sliced olives

olive oil and lemon olive oil for cooking

6 cups chicken broth

1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed

chopped parsley

In a very hot skillet, add the oil(s) and then cook the chicken slices until done. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Add the onions and vegetables, except for the tomatoes and olives, and the spices and seasonings and cook until the vegetables are tender.

Add the chicken back to the mix, as well as the chicken broth and the chopped parsley.

Mix together thoroughly and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and add the tomatoes and olives.

Cover and cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. When the couscous or matfool is done, serve the stew on top. I added some warmed pita bread and hummus and a glass or two of a nice, dry Verdicchio (that we made from InVintions A Lot of Wine, A Lot of Fun).

As you all know, we love to travel, but we can’t always get to travel to distant lands as much as we like. However, we can take short little trips from the comfort of our own home by cooking different kinds of foods in our kitchen. You can too. It is a fun way to taste the world, one dish at a time.

Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.


Author: ajeanneinthekitchen

I have worked in the restaurant and catering industry for over 35 years. I attended 2 culinary schools in Southern California, and have a degree in culinary arts from the Southern California School of Culinary Arts, as well as a few other degrees in other areas. I love to cook and I love to feed people.

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