Makes 5 cups - 4 to 6 servings

In Morocco, this well-loved stew breaks traditional religious fasts. Each household has its own version. This recipe replaces lamb or beef with plenty of white beans and red lentils. It's a satisfying, hearty meal.

If you're unable to find red lentils, brown lentils can be substituted. See the Variation for changes in cooking time.

1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup finely chopped onion 1 teaspoon crushed saffron threads 1 tablespoon hot water 2 teaspoons curry powder 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds (see Tip) 6 cups hot canned chicken broth or vegetable stock (prepare using stock concentrate, cubes, or powder), divided One 15-ounce can white beans, drained and rinsed ½ cup dried red lentils ½ cup uncooked basmati rice 1 tomato, cut into ½-inch cubes 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro 1 tablespoon tomato paste Few drops of Tabasco sauce, or to taste Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste Sprigs of fresh cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the saffron with the hot water; set aside.

Add the curry powder, cumin, rosemary, and fennel seeds to the Dutch oven; stir for about 30 seconds. Stir in the saffron-water mixture and the vegetable stock, beans, lentils, and rice. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat; cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and rice are tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the tomato, cilantro, and tomato paste. Season to taste.

Garnish servings with sprigs of fresh cilantro.

Advance preparation

This stew will keep for up to 5 days in a covered container in the refrigerator. When reheating, stir in chicken broth, vegetable stock, or water to thin as desired.

Variation

Substitute brown lentils for the red lentils; increase the cooking time to about 35 minutes, or until the lentils are tender.