This week I decided to make a meal using ingredients I already had in my “pantry” (urban apartment living euphemism for cupboard) without buying any new ingredients specifically for the meal. And although one of my favorite parts about this project is having people over for meals, I decided this time to make a meal for myself so I would have lots of leftovers for the upcoming week.
Couscous is a staple in Moroccan cuisine, and since I love couscous and it makes great leftovers, that’s what I made. Here’s a link to the Food by Country post to Morocco…although I didn’t use a specific recipe from this site it give good info on the country’s cuisine.
I adapted several recipes I found online to make a couscous dish that matched what I had in my pantry and used ingredients common in Moroccan cuisine. Here’s the recipe I used:
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper cut into 1″ pieces
1/3 cup dried cherries (could also use raisins, which is probably more common but I like the sweetness of cherries)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tsp. orange zest (I used clementine zest)
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (this could easily be turned into a vegetarian meal by using vegetable stock instead)
1 1/2 cups couscous
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
¼ cup slivered almonds
Place a large, heavy bottomed pot over medium heat. Stir in the cumin, ginger, cloves, cayenne, cardamom, coriander, and allspice; gently toast until fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in oil and onion, cook until softened. Stir in the bell pepper, cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and zests. Pour in the chicken broth; turn heat to high and bring to a boil. When the mixture is boiling, stir in the couscous and cherries and remove from heat; cover, and let stand 5 minutes. In a frying pan, place slivered almonds in an ungreased pan, stirring often over medium low heat until lightly toasted. Fluff couscous mixture with a fork, and fold in crumbled feta and toasted almonds.
Here are the ingredients:
This dish had lots of spice flavor, and that’s in part due to toasting the spices before putting the dish together. Toasting the spices, and the almonds, really adds a lot of depth of flavor. And makes the kitchen smell amazing!
I thoroughly enjoyed my bowl of couscous, very tasty and satisfying. The flavors worked well together, the almonds add a nice crunch, the cherries add a hint of sweetness, and the feta adds a salty creaminess that I love.
I really liked this combination, and would definitely make it again. Couscous is really versatile, so there are lots of variations on this that would also work well.