A couple of weeks ago, I posted an entry encouraging you guys to make your own tandoori spice at home, inspired by a delicious one I had found in my local market. Not being that guys that's going to leave you hanging with a rogue jar of "what do I do with that now?" spice blend, this week's "Dinner Rush" is putting it back in action to create a quick and delicious Moroccan inspired stew. The flavors of Morocco are known for rather closely treading the line between sweet and savory. Lots of the spices in our tandoori blend - cumin, ginger and turmeric, for instance - are blended with cinnamon, lemon and dried fruits to produce simply composed and intricately flavored dishes. For ease of preparation, I've borrowed only a few of those ideas. If you've got the time to get a bit crazy, though, see how a pinch of saffron and a handful each of chopped prunes and chopped green olives completely take this dish to a new level. This stew is a great idea to keep on hand, too, for a "Meatless Monday" inspiration. You can easily swap the chicken stock for veggie stock or water and the shredded chicken for a can of chick peas. Do me a huge favor, though, and don't skimp on the cilantro at the end. It cuts through the spice in the tandoori powder and gives the dish a great balance. Plus it's one of my top three favorite herbs, for those curious.
Place a large high-sided saute pan over medium heat with the oil. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring often, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the tandoori spice, cinnamon and tomato paste to the pan and continue cooking until caramelized and very aromatic, about 2 minutes.
Add the chicken stock, tomatoes, lentils and honey and bring the liquid up to a boil while scraping any caramelized bits up from the bottom of the pan. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the lentils are almost cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the green beans, chicken and lemon zest to the pan and continue cooking until the lentils and beans are cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the stew over steamed white rice garnished with cilantro.