Monday, December 12, 2011

Moroccan Israeli Couscous

Last night Simon and I tried out a new recipe for Moroccan Israeli Couscous to use up some of our couscous.  I was intrigued by this recipe because it includes several vegetables that I don't usually eat.  Plus, I'm warming myself up to Israeli couscous:  I usually prefer Moroccan couscous (the smaller variety) to Israeli couscous (the larger variety) since my primary experience with the latter is in mediocre dining hall dishes.  This recipe for Moroccan Israeli Couscous combines Moroccan flavors with Israeli-sized couscous.   

As you can see, the end product looks pretty good! 

Moroccan Israeli Couscous

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 2 carrots, julienned
  • 2 turnips, peeled and julienned
  • 1 sweet potato, julienned
  • 1/2 pound frozen peas
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 - 15 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 - 15 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 pinch curry powder
  • 2 cups Israeli couscous, prepared according to package directions

First, heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and sauté until golden.  Pour in the vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Then stir in the carrots, turnips, and sweet potato, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer (uncovered) for 15 minutes.  Next, reduce the heat to low, add the peas and bell pepper, and simmer (covered) for 20 minutes.  Finally, stir in the chickpeas, tomato sauce, and spices and simmer until the mixture is heated through.  

Serve over Israeli couscous prepared according to the package directions.   

While I did enjoy the texture and mouthfeel of the couscous,  I didn't love this recipe.  To me, it was a bit bland.  The flavors were nice but they weren't very strong.  I decided to doctor the final product by adding a bit of salt and crushed red pepper flakes, though, and these two small additions made a big difference.

Simon generally agreed with me and wasn't thrilled with the original recipe.  On the other hand, Rachel liked both the texture and the taste of the couscous.  She also thought the dish was visually appealing, due to the differently prepared vegetables and the varied colors.  As Rachel said, "I'd eat that again."  (And she did--well, we all did--for dinner tonight!)

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