Serving the Guest: A Sufi Cookbook
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Squash & Chickpea Stew
Squash is said to have been one of the Prophet Muhammad's favorite foods. According to tradition, a tailor once presented to him some barley bread and a dish of gourd and cured meat. Muhammad eagerly picked out the pieces of squash and ate them with such delight that his companion picked out his own portion of squash to share with him.
Soaking: Overnight
Total second-day time: 1-½ hours
1 cup dried chickpeas, or 2 cups cooked
4 cups water
½ cup olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped onions
1 tbsp. garlic
2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper, or to taste
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cumin
2 cups diced carrots
½ cup jicama or water chestnuts, diced or sliced
4 cups cubed squash
2 cups red bell peppers, in 2x¼" strips
3 large tomatoes, cored and quartered
½ cup raisins (dark or golden)
4 cups water or stock
½ cup parsley or cilantro

Cover the chickpeas with cold water and soak overnight. Drain and discard any skins that have floated to the top. Put into a pan with 4 cups of cold water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer until cooked through but not falling apart, 1-1-½ hours. Skim off any skins that float to the top, then drain and set aside. If you are using canned chickpeas, drain them, rinse them, and set them aside.

While the chickpeas cook, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat, then add the onions and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden.

Sprinkle over with garlic, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cumin, and stir briefly. Stir in the carrots and sauté for 10 minutes. Add the jicama or water chestnuts, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes and raisins; mix well, then pour over the water or stock, bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for a half-hour, until the squash is almost cooked through. Add the drained chickpeas and parsley or cilantro and simmer for another 10 minutes, until the squash is soft and the chickpeas are heated through. Serve over rice, or make a pilaf by mixing the stew right into the rice.