Monday, January 30, 2012

Seven-Vegetable Moroccan Couscous

A medley of cool-weather root vegetables richly seasoned with Moroccan spices is stewed with broccoli and cauliflower and served on a bed of couscous. Serves 8.

7-Vegetable Moroccan Couscous


2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 fennel bulbs, sliced lengthwise and diced across the grain
3 medium carrots, cut in half lengthwise and then into 1/2 inch strips on a diagonal, about 3 cups
3 or 4 turnips, diced to make about 3 cups
1 medium red or yellow pepper, sliced into thick strips, then diced into triangles
1/2 head cauliflower, about 2 cups of florets
1 small head of broccoli, about 2 cups of florets
1 15-ounce can, garbanzo beans
1 14-1/2 ounce can, diced tomatoes and juice
2 teaspoons ginger, minced
1 teaspoon turmeric
1-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more if desired)
2 cups vegetable broth (more if needed)
1 teaspoon salt


1. Blanche broccoli florets for one minute in boiling water, rinse with cold water and set aside.

2. Mix the spices in 1 or 2 tablespoons of hot water and set aside.

3. Prepare the couscous according to the package directions, set aside.

4. Saute' onions in olive oil until starting to caramelize. Add garlic, ginger and spices with a splash of broth. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onions are well coated with the spices.

5. Add root vegetables and 1 cup of broth. Simmer covered until root vegetables are almost done - 10 or 15 minutes.

6. Add red pepper.  Cook for about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower, garbanzo beans, tomatoes and the remainder of the broth. Add salt and cayenne to taste. Simmer until the cauliflower is almost tender.

7. When all the vegetables are easily pierced with a fork and the flavors have blended, stir in the broccoli, cooking only until it is warm.

To serve, spread the couscous over a platter, make a dent in the center and spoon the vegetable stew into it.

Garnish with chopped cilantro, mint and silvered almonds if desired.

Seven Vegetable Moroccan Couscous

Chef's note:

Almost any combination of root vegetables will work in this complexly-spiced stew. I used what was in the vegetable bin from last week plus fresh carrots, turnips and fennel. Although I omitted them this week, new potatoes work great. Broccoli adds great color. (And, yes, there are more than seven vegetables. Who's counting?)

The trick to success with this recipe is timing.

You want the root vegetables fork-tender and the cruciferous vegetables tender, but not mushy.

Now that I've tried pearl couscous, I prefer the regular. Rice is also nice. (You can take the girl out of Cajun country...)

~Recipe adapted from North African Vegetable Stew in the cookbook, Field of Greens by Annie Sommerville and other Internet sources too numerous to mention.

Bon appetit.

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