Monday, August 12, 2013

Moroccan Couscous Stew with Soy Chorizo

Every cook--particularly a vegetarian one--needs to have a couple of go-to recipes, dishes that you keep in your back pocket that look amazing and require minimal effort or extra ingredients.    Moroccan couscous stew has been one of those dishes for some time now. It's quick, easy, and the best part is you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand.  What distinguishes it from the usual vegetable soup is the spices--the cinnamon and cumin really give it that North African flair. In my stew, I like to use some fresh orange juice and zest, a tip I gleaned from an online recipe about a year ago.  And the soy chorizo is by no means necessary; I happened to have some lying around and wanted to find a use other than chili to use it up. 

Interesting fact: so in the US, when we think of couscous, what usually comes to mind is the tiny pasta.  When I was living in France, where Algerian and Moroccan food is extremely popular, "couscous" specifically referred to the pasta topped with the stew.  Without the stew, people simply referred to it is "semoule" (semolina, the flour used to make it). 

And now, the recipe.  Like most of my recipes, measurements are eyeballed.  The idea is to get your mind started.

Moroccan Couscous Stew With Soy Chorizo

1 cup couscous, dry
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup carrots, diced
1/2 cup diced potato or butternut squash (optional)
1 tomato, diced
3 cups water or broth
1/4 cup any of the following: frozen peas, zucchini, squash or anything else you have lying around
1 teaspoon orange zest
1 orange, diced
1/2 cup chickpeas
1/4 cup soy chorizo
cinnamon, cumin, nutmeg, paprika, turmeric, salt and pepper to taste

Cook couscous according to package instructions.  Set aside.

Heat oil in pan.  Add onion, garlic, carrots, and turmeric.  If using potato or butternut squash, you can add those at this time as well.  Cook until tender.  Add tomatoes and saute another few minutes.

Add water or broth.  Next, add veggies, orange zest, diced orange, chickpeas and soy chorizo.  Add spices to taste.  Simmer for 15-20 minutes or until flavors are adequately melded.  Serve over couscous. 

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