Moroccan Couscous (Recipe)

Heres a fairly easy recipe for a Moroccan-style Couscous. Trader Joe’s sells their packaged brand of a whole-wheat “instant” couscous which is quite good, and could not be easier to make. The term “couscous” refers both to the dry, uncooked semolina pellets, and to the ready-to-eat dish of light, fluffy cooked grains topped by the marga.  The marga is the vegetable laden stew portion of a “couscous”. Chickpeas are one of the main ingredients in the marga. If I can, I generally start with dried chickpeas which like most beans need to be soaked overnight, and then cooked for an hour or two. In a pinch, canned chickpeas can be used too, and Trader Joe’s sells both regular canned as well as organic canned chickpeas (garbanzos). Chickpeas are a legume which are very healthy, and very high in protein, high in fiber, and to me, mighty tasty, probably my favorite of all beans or legumes. Of course they are the major component in hummus, which TJ’s sells tons of too. BTW I have a feeling if you used Trader Joe’s Indian “Spiced Chickpeas” which come in a foil pouch they might work great in this dish and give you a good deal of lovely spices that would work perfectly with this dish. Try it, experiment!

Moroccan Couscous

3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 onions, sliced
3-4 stalks celery, sliced thick
3-6 big carrots, sliced thick
Chickpeas, dried or canned (use either 1/2 lb. dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked 1.5 hrs -or-
1 can Trader Joe’s Chick Peas (garbanzos) rinsed, drained
1-2 med. potatoes, diced
1-2 turnips, or daikon, peeled, cubed
2 zucchini or yellow squash, sliced thick (add during last 10 mins to not overcook)
1 lg (28oz) can tomatoes with basil
Stock (chicken or vegetable, fill empty 28oz can)
Cilantro, chopped
Parsley, chopped
Asstd Morocan spices (tumeric, cumin, coriander, ras el hanout, red pepper, pepper), or you can use Curry Powder, which has most of these. About 1tbs; Salt, Pepper
(optional) Raisins

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil, for 3-5 minutes. Add the vegetables and saute for five minutes, stiring occasionally. Add the tomatoes (break up with fingers), the liquid (stock), and the chick peas. Add the spices and salt. Simmer the “marga” for 30-40 mins on low-med heat. Taste for seasonings. When done, add a handful raisins (even some dried cranberries). Garnish with cilantro.

Couscous: prepare according to directions. Fluff. To plate, put down a bed of couscous and create a “hole” in the center. Add the stew to the center. Serve with Harissa, or hot sauce, or Sriracha

ADDITIONS: Serve with your protein of choice (roast chicken, lamb, or merguez sausage, or shrimp or fish) A Mixed Grill makes a “couscous royale”. Keeping it Vegetarian is fine too of course (You could try SOY CHORIZO and see if that is good in this)

If you want to know a lot more, here is some detailed background about authentic couscous.

Couscous also makes a good side dish or a subsitute for rice or another grain. Its great in salad, room temperature or cold, so excellent for summertime (and as you only need to boil water and turn off the pot, does not heat up a kitchen.

I keep a box of CousCous in my pantry at all times. One of the handiest things you can have.


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