Saturday, January 5, 2008

Golden Root-Vegetable Couscous

I love Nigella Lawson & her joyful way of cooking & eating. For Christmas I got her How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. It looks like it is going to be good reading as well as cooking (though I do wish it had pictures). This is our first foray into it a meal she says is particularly good "if you've been feeling rather fragile." I would say with our colds we have been. It also felt like a perfectly seasonal dish. Give yourself a little prep time for this as there are lots of vegetables to peel & chop.

golden root vegetable couscous

3 T olive oil
2 med. onions, quartered & sliced thickly
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 t each ground cinnamon, cumin & coriander
1/2 t paprika
generous pinch of saffron
3 med. carrots, peeled & cut into a 1 inch dice
2 med. parsnips, peeled & cut into 1 inch dice
2 medium turnips, peeled & cut into a 1 inch dice
1 small kabocha or butternut squash, peeled & cut into a 1 inch dice
1/2 med. rutabaga, peeled & cut into a 1 inch dice
3 zucchini sliced 1/2 inch thick (you can peel if you like)
4 1/2 cut chicken, beef or vegetable stock
1/2 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes with liquid
grated zest from 1/2 large orange, plus juice from the whole orange (optional)
2/3 c sultanas
1 1/2 c (14 oz each) chickpeas
few drops chili oil or 1 t harissa

1/2 c pine nuts
4 c quick-cooking couscous
2 T butter

Heat the olive oil in a big, deep pot & turn the onions in it for a few minutes. Add the garlic, cinnamon, cumin, coriander, paprika and saffron, and stir over low to medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the carrots, parsnips, turnips, squash, rutabaga and zucchini and turn briskly. After about 5 minutes add the stock, tomatoes, orange zest, sultanas and chickpeas. Turn again & try to get everything at least partially covered by the stock. Add more stock or water if needed. Season with salt, taste, and if you want to, add the orange juice. The stew benefits from an aromatic hint of orange, but don't be too heavy-handed (I chose not to add it, the zest was enough).
Cook this fragrant, golden stew for 20-30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender but not mushy (at least not all of them - some will be beginning to fray around the edges, and that is good) and the liquid has formed a thin but not watery sauce. Taste and chili oil or the harissa if you want it to have more punch. (Matt put it in his bowl I left it out)
Meanwhile, prepare the couscous. Put the pine nuts in a hot, dry frying pan and toast until they are golden & giving off a sweet resiny aroma. Set aside. (ok, she goes through a whole long process here of cooking the couscous in a couscoussier, I don't know about you but I don't have one. We just cooked the couscous according to the directions on the package with butter making 1/4 cup dry per serving)
Serve the stew with the couscous & sprinkle with pine nuts.

This stew was superb. We halved the recipe since there was just the two of us & this supposedly makes 6 servings. Half the recipe made at least 4 servings so I would say the recipe above is actually for 8.
golden root vegetable couscous
I left out the rutabaga because I didn't want to buy one just to use 1/4 of it & just added more squash (I suppose you could really vary the vegetables anyway that suits your tastes). I also used the whole can of chickpeas instead of 3/4. Next time I would add more sultanas, their sweetness was perfect in this. This one is highly recommended.

1 comment:

Karen Cunningham said...

Super delicious dish. I tried this on family and friends and got rave reviews. For the cous-sous, I use large grain Israeli cous-cous and steamed it over the broth. When the vegs. were almost cooked, I transferred them to a large pan and left on low heat to keep warm and then steamed the cous-cous. Occasionally I would spoon the stock over the cous-cous. It was perfect. Thanks for the recipe

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