4 tablespoons olive oil
2 Spanish onions, chopped
1 large jalapeño pepper, seeded if desired, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger root
2 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, more to taste
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 fennel bulb, diced (save fronds for garnish)
1 very large bunch chard, stems sliced 1/2-inch thick, leaves torn into bite-size pieces
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large turnip, peeled and diced
1 pound dried chickpeas, soaked overnight in water to cover or quick-soaked (see note)
⅓ cup diced dried apricots
2 tablespoons chopped preserved lemon, more to taste
½ cup chopped cilantro, more for garnish
Heat oil in a large pot over high heat. Add onion and jalapeño and sauté until limp, 3 minutes. Add garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric, paprika, cinnamon, cumin, black pepper and cayenne and sauté until they release their fragrance, about 2 minutes. Add tomato paste and sauté for another minute, until darkened but not burned. (If tomato paste looks too dark too quickly, lower heat.)
Add fennel, chard stems, carrot and turnip and continue to sauté until vegetables start to soften, about 10 minutes. Add chickpeas and water to barely cover.
Return heat to high if you lowered it and bring to a simmer. Partly cover pot, lower heat to medium low, and simmer for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, until chickpeas are softened. Add more water if needed (this should be like a stew).
Add chard leaves, apricots and preserved lemon to pot and continue simmering until chard is tender, about 5 minutes longer. Season with more salt if desired, and serve garnished with cilantro and reserved fennel fronds.
To quick-soak chickpeas, bring them to a boil in water to cover by 1 inch. Turn off the heat and let soak for 1 hour. Drain.
Recipes by Melissa Clark in The New York Times FOOD Section on February 13, 2015