Saucy Approach for Feeding a Crowd
It’s what I’m taking to my daughter’s party this year. She has taken on the role of Chanukah Party Provider and I get to contribute but not do it all. Let’s hear it for generational traditions! You can check it out.
This year I have a different strategy. I am hosting smaller gatherings with just the people who can sit around my table and share stories. My first gathering set a new approach to feeding a crowd that is worth sharing. I made a Moroccan style fish stew and realized the sauce could easily be used for other proteins ranging from lamb or chicken to eggs or chickpeas
It’s the same concept as the big pot of Spaghetti Sauce that simmered for a few hours and then waited for the pasta to be done at the last moment. But this is more like a thick soup that mellows from cooking and letting the flavors blend. Then the protein of choice can be used with it.
Moroccan All Purpose Sauce
1 ½ fennel bulbs
4-6 cloves garlic
1 large onion
1 red, orange or yellow pepper
¼ C. Olive oil
2 t. ground cumin
2 t. ground cinnamon
1 t. paprika
¼ t. red pepper flakes or 1 t hot sauce (or to taste)
Salt & Pepper
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 ½ C. red wine
1 ½ C. orange juice
2-4 T sugar
1 10 oz. jar green olives with pimentos – sliced in processor
Protein of your choosing fish, chicken, lamb
¼ C. preserved lemons (see recipe below)
- Pulse vegetables in processor until coarsely chopped.
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven; Sautee vegetables in oil until wilted
- Add spices and let cook until they become fragrant and integrated with the vegetables
- Add liquids – if you don’t have any leftover wine, you can add more orange juice or more tomatoes
- When everything has cooked down and blended, add sliced olives and preserved lemons
- Let cook for half an hour to an hour. Turn off and let flavors blend for several hours or overnight in refrigerator
- Heat sauce before adding protein.
- Add 2 pounds firm white fish cut into large chunks – I used frozen Mahi Mahi pieces from Trader Joe’s. Let it cook until fish is opaque
- For lamb or chicken, add meat in pieces and cook until tender. That will depend on size of pieces – simmering for an hour should work.
- Serve with couscous or with good bread for dipping
Mark Bittman’s ‘Instant’ Preserved Lemons
4 organic lemons or Meyers lemons (wash lemons well)
1 or 1½ T salt
2 T sugar
- Slice lemons in ¼ inch slices and remove all seeds. Dice lemon slices and put in bowl or jar. Add salt and sugar and mix well.
- Leave lemons out for up to 3 hours and then refrigerate. They can be used right away and keep for several weeks.
- They can be used in salads, soups, stews, over fish or vegetables. Anywhere you want a bright hit of flavor
Thanks to Jessica Robyn for the image