Sunday, July 31, 2011

Moroccan Couscous

This is a dish I have been making a lot in France this year, but started making in St. Louis as well before I left. It is a great party dish because it makes a large quantity of food, and it can be easily adjusted to make more. It is also versatile because it can be made for vegetarian or for meat-eaters. This basic recipe included here is vegetarian, but one could make a side of meat for it.

Moroccan Couscous

Serves 6.

1 ½ cup couscous
1 ½ cup water
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 tbl butter
1-2 shallots, diced
1 tbl olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed and diced
1 onion, diced
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
5-6 cups of water
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp cloves
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp cardamom
¼ tsp coriander
¼ tsp allspice
Salt and pepper
2 tbl fresh parsley
1 green pepper, chopped
2 zucchini, chopped in rounds
2-3 small potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
2-3 carrots, peeled and chopped
½ cup orange juice
½ can tomato sauce or diced tomatoes
1 cup garbanzo beans
1 cup raisins
½ cup spicy sauce

This seems like a lot of ingredients, but this is the kind of recipe that enables you to play with the meal based on what you have around. Last time, I didn’t have ginger, cloves, or allspice, so just did without, and added a little bit of herbs de Provence. Also, including a sweet potato makes for a sweeter broth, so if you prefer a spicer broth, leave that out and add a little bit of spice sauce to it.

This dish can be served vegetarian, as written out here, or you can make on the side some mergeuz sausage, cumin-spiced chicken, beef, or lamb, or brochettes to serve with the couscous.

Directions:
In a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Mix all of the dried spices together in a single bowl (save the parsley for later). Saut̩ garlic in the pan and add spices. Stir, then mix in the onions. After letting this mixture cook over medium heat for a few minutes, begin adding your chopped vegetables Рpotatoes, carrots, pepper and zucchini. In a tea kettle or separate bowl, boil about 5-6 cups of water. After the vegetables have cooked for a few minutes on their own, add the water, tomato sauce, and orange juice to the pot along with a vegetable stockcube. Simmer until the vegetables are soft. Add parsley when finished.

For the couscous, melt butter in a small saucepan, then add the shallots. Boil 1 ½ cup of water in a teakettle and add to the mixture with one vegetable stockcube. Once the water is boiling with the shallots, add the couscous and a dash of salt, and cover for 8-10 minutes. After the time has elapsed, take off the cover. The couscous will be in a single mass, so take a fork and gentle rake through the layers of couscous to loosen it, pouring the morsels into another bowl once they are freed from the mass. Sprinkle with olive oil.

For serving, add the couscous into a bowl, then spoon out soup mixture over it. As the liquid becomes absorbed by the couscous during your meal, add fresh liquid from the soup. Leave out for your guests to add spicy sauce, garbanzo beans, and raisins to their dish. Enjoy with or without a meat side.

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