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Category: Main courses

Couscous with seven vegetables

Couscous with seven vegetables
Los Angeles Times

Couscous is one of the world's most extraordinary foods, more delicate than any gnocchi, light as a snowdrift. It's also terribly misunderstood. More than just the stuff that comes out of a box, couscous is a whole world of wonderful ... Read more

Total time: 2 hours, 50 minutes | Serves 8
Note: From "The Greatest Dishes! Around the World in 80 Recipes" by Anya von Bremzen.
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
  • 2 large onions, quartered and sliced
  • 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 pounds veal or lamb shanks, hacked into 3/4 - to 1-inch sections, or meaty lamb neck
  • 2 1/2 quarts water
  • 2 large tomatoes, peeled, seeded and quartered (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 (3-inch) cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon mild paprika
  • Large pinch cayenne, or more to taste
  • Large pinch saffron threads, toasted and pulverized in a mortar
  • 10 sprigs each parsley and cilantro, tied into a cheesecloth bag
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 fat carrots, scraped, quartered and cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 medium turnips or boiling potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 3 fat celery ribs, cut into 2-inch sections, or 1 medium fennel bulb with a little of the stalk, cut into large chunks (scrape the outer layer of the fennel bulb if it is tough)
  • 2 large zucchini, halved and cut into 2-inch sections
  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 cups canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 recipe steamed couscous
  • Harissa or another pure chile paste

Step 1In a heavy stockpot, heat the butter with the oil over medium heat and saute the onions, stirring, for 5 minutes.

Step 2Add the chicken and the veal or lamb and cook, turning the meats, until they are opaque, about 5 minutes per side.

Step 3Add the water, tomatoes, ginger, cinnamon sticks, paprika, cayenne, saffron, the bag of parsley and cilantro, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, skim off the foam, cover and simmer over low heat until the chicken is tender, 45 to 50 minutes. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken to a bowl so it doesn't overcook. Cover and keep warm.

Step 4Continue cooking the broth until the veal or lamb is tender, about 1 hour longer. (While the meat is cooking, start preparing the couscous.) Remove the meat.

Step 5Add the carrots, turnips and celery to the broth. Raise the heat until it comes to a simmer, then lower the heat and cook for 15 minutes.

Step 6Add the zucchini, squash and chickpeas; raise the heat again until the liquid returns to a simmer. Lower the heat and cook until the vegetables are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes more. As vegetables are done, remove them to a bowl.

Step 7Return the chicken and meat to the pot until warmed through and adjust seasonings to taste. Discard the cheesecloth bag. (The broth and vegetables can be prepared a day ahead.)

Step 8If necessary, reheat the broth, meats and vegetables. Mound the steamed couscous on a large platter. Make a big well in the middle and pile some of the vegetables into it. Arrange the meat and chicken around the couscous and scatter chickpeas around it. Moisten with about 1 cup of the broth. If you like, mix 1 cup broth with 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons harissa to serve on the side. Serve the rest of the vegetables and broth in a large, deep bowl, accompanied by the harissa.

Each serving (without couscous):
374 calories; 36 grams protein; 27 grams carbohydrates; 6 grams fiber; 14 grams fat; 4 grams saturated fat; 121 mg. cholesterol; 1,101 mg. sodium.
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