Saturday, August 17, 2019

RECIPE: Vegetarian Couscous with Seven Vegetables

This recipe, also from Paula Wolfert's book Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco, is usually made with beef or lamb, but I needed it to be vegetarian so I eliminated the meat, doubled the vegetables, and added a few spices to compensate for the lost umami.  I found no meat-free couscous recipes in her book and had to improvise. 

I've made this several times now and use whatever vegetables I have on hand - radishes, green beans, butternut squash, etc....  The only veg you must have are garlic, tomatoes, onions, carrots and zucchini.

Vegetarian Couscous with Seven Vegetables
Serves 6-8
  • 1/2c. butter or ghee
  • pinch pulverized saffron
  • 1/2 t. ground turmeric
  • 1/2 t. ground ginger
  • 1/2 t. ground coriander
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • small bundle fresh parsley and cilantro tied with a thread 
  • 4 t. salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped, or 2 t. garlic powder
  • 4-5 ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered (I used canned)
  • 4 medium yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced into 1.5" lengths
  • 2 pounds turnips or radishes, peeled and cut into 1.5" lengths
  • 2 pounds zucchini and/or summer squash washed and cut into 2" lengths
  • 1 pound pumpkin, butternut or potato, peeled, cut into 2" chunks, and steamed
  • 2-3 quarts water or vegetable stock
  • 1 fresh chili pepper
  • Handful of black raisins
  • 22oz can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed* 

For serving: 
  • 3 cups couscous, cooked using the broth from the vegetables** (I use quinoa for our gluten-free friends)
  • 1 T. melted butter or ghee
  • 1 t. harissa 
  • 1 T. lemon juice
  • 1 T. EVOO
  • Pinch of cumin

In a large stock pot, melt the butter or ghee over medium heat and add the spices, herbs, garlic, onions, and tomatoes.  Cover and cook gently for 10 minutes.  Add 2 quarts water or vegetable stock.

(If you're using dry chickpeas, add the soaked and drained chickpeas here.  Add an additional 1 quart water, cover and simmer for 1 hour.)

Add the carrots and turnips.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the zucchini, fresh chili pepper, raisins and canned chickpeas.  Add another quart of water if necessary to keep the vegetables submerged.  Cover and simmer another 20 minutes.

To serve:

Dump the couscous onto a serving dish and toss with 1 T. butter or ghee.  Spread out and form a large well in the center.  With a perforated spoon, transfer the vegetables into the well.  Add the cooked pumpkin/potatoes.  Taste the broth for seasoning, adjust and strain.

Mix one cup of broth with harissa, 1 T. lemon juice, 1 T. EVOO, and a pinch of cumin.

Moisten the grain with the remaining broth.  Serve with Harissa Sauce.

* If you want to use dry chickpeas, soak 1 cup overnight in 4 c. water, then drain and cook for 1 hour in the tomato/onion broth before adding the carrots and turnips.

** Couscous is normally cooked in a colander OVER the simmering vegetables.  Because that requires special equipment, I prefer to cook the grains in a separate pot using the broth from the vegetables.  Once the vegetables are cooked, I skim off enough broth to cook the grains, and keep the vegetables warm while they cook.  In the photo below, they're shown over quinoa.

7-vegetables over quinoa "couscous"

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