Healthy, Moroccan, Tagines

(Amazing) Moroccan Couscous

Serves: 4

Couscous is not something I have ever paid too much attention to when cooking a tagine or whatever it might be.

(The exception being Jamie Oliver’s Couscous Stuffed Roast Chicken where the couscous is the star of the show.)

My usual approach – couscous, olive oil, hot chicken stock, currants and maybe some slivered almonds – has been unceremoniously described by Nat – at its worst – as “glug”.

A criticism I’ve accepted because as I said, I’ve never paid too much attention to it: especially when a cracker of a tagine is ladled on-top.

This recipe affirmed what I have always known about couscous and that is that it can be so wonderful – even on its own – when shown the time. It can be much more than just a ho-hum base to a great tagine and it can certainly be much more than just glug.

To point, this couscous blew Nat away and she agreed it was tremendous.

In fact, I recall her saying something to the effect that it was the best couscous she had ever had.

Make the effort and do this. It is bloody amazing, light and wonderful tasting…. and turn-around your detractors in their steps.

Ingredients

450ml chicken stock
200gm couscous
½ red onion, finely diced
½ bunch flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 long red chilli, de-seeded and finely chopped
60gm dried currants
Handful whole almonds, roasted
80gm butter, diced
2 egg yolks, beaten
Salt and freshly cracked pepper

Method

  1. Over a high heat, in a medium-sized pot, bring the stock to a boil.
  2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and season well.
  3. When the stock is boiling, pour it over the couscous mixture, give it a stir and cover with glad wrap. Allow to sit for 10 minutes.
  4. Uncover and gently run a fork through the couscous to fluff it up. Check your seasoning and serve.
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Moroccan, Stew, Vegetarian

Moroccan-style Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Serves: 6 – 8 lunches

We don’t buy our lunches at work.

Instead, we cook something big on Sunday night – a stew, a mince, a dahl – and that is lunch for the week.

Nat repeatedly makes the point that there is simply no point in wasting calories during the week. Or to the point, wasting calories, at work, at lunch. Better to reserve the pastas and pastry for the weekends when you can have a few wines and mop everything up with bread and more wines.

I don’t disagree.

Thus why you should consider this stew and making it for your next week of lunches.

Working backwards, it is a calorie blackhole. You’ll burn more calories eating it.

Secondly, it tastes just great.

Thirdly, thanks to the chickpeas, it is filling and you won’t be searching around for a Rivita before four.

Save the money, save the calories and save the weekend for the big chicken sandwiches.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 – 2 tsp chilli flakes
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 dates, pitted and chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped into 2 cm pieces
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 2cm pieces
2 x 400gm cans of crushed tomatoes
3 cups of vegetable stock
1 yellow capsicum (pepper), stemmed and chopped into 2cm pieces
2 cups of cooked chickpeas
Salt and pepper
Couple handfuls of baby spinach
To serve: Greek yoghurt, coriander, lemon zest, brown rice

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over a medium heat. Add the onions, lower the heat and cook until softened. Add the spices and chilli flakes. Slowly saute until the onions are really soft.
  2. Add the garlic and saute for a minute. Add the dates, carrots and sweet potatoes. Season with the salt and pepper and mix. Add the tomatoes, stir and then the vegetable stock. Bring to a boil and simmer until reduced and thickening.
  3. Add the capsicum and chickpeas; check your seasoning. Simmer for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the greens and cook for a final minute, adding olive oil, lemon zest and seasoning as need be.
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Healthy, Moroccan, Vegetarian

Moroccan Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Moroccan Vegetable and Chickpea Stew

Serves: 6 – 8

This stew isn’t likely from Morocco though who cares?

It is healthy, filling, tasty, full of pleasant heat and super simple to prep.

As a work lunch – something we had all last week – it ticks every box, served either hot or cold.

Add a dollop of yoghurt, coriander or a side of cous cous and the fact that this stew might not be strictly Moroccan really will be the last of your thoughts.

Yum!

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, diced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
Chilli flakes
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 dates, pitted and chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
2 x 400gm cans crushed tomatoes
3 cups vegetable stock
1 yellow pepper, stemmed and chopped
2 cans cooked chickpeas
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
A few handfuls of baby spinach

To serve:
Chopped flat leaf parsley/coriander
Finely grated lemon zest
Extra virgin olive oil
Cooked brown rice/quinoa/couscous

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan over a medium heat. Add the onions, lower the heat and cook until soft. Add the cinnamon, cumin, coriander and a few pinches of chilli flakes. Cook slowly until the onions are soft.
  2. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant: a minute or to. Add the chopped dates, carrots, sweet potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stirring, add the tomatoes and then the stock.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer until the sweet potatoes are just tender: 10 – 12 minutes.
  4. Add the chopped peppers and chickpeas and stir. Season again and simmer until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  5. Stir through the spinach, check the seasoning and serve.
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Healthy, Lamb, Moroccan

Moroccan kofte with spicy tomato sauce

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Seriously?!

Serves: 4

Oh wow this is awesome.

Admittedly, I made them after a rather reasonable lunch remit with a few wines. Though the flavour definitely wasn’t the wines talking, though I have been known to find cornflour pretty tasty late into a big night.

Though who hasn’t?

Lamb mince. Tick. Spice. Tick. Tomato. Tick. Yogurt, harissa and pine nuts. Tick.

It’s easy to prepare, easy to cook and healthy. It’s no revelation and instead, it’s the comfort, warmth and familiarity of it all.

Go out and have a big lunch, stumble home, pour another glass and knock this up. You could do a whole lot worse.

Ingredients

Lamb

500gm lamb mince
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp chopped mint

Sauce

1 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 x 400g cans chopped tomato
2 tsp harissa
1 tsp sugar
200gm tub Greek yogurt
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
Coriander, pittas and couscous to serve

Method

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak for at least 20 minutes to stop burning. Heat the grill.
  2. Using your hands, mix the meat in a bowl with the onion, coriander, mint and plenty of seasoning. Shape into 8 sausages, about 10cm long and then threat a bamboo skewer through the center of each.
  3. To make the sauce, heat the oil in a pan, add the garlic and briefly fry. Add tomatoes, harissa, sugar and seasoning. Simmer, uncovered, for 15 – 20 minutes until sauce has thickened.
  4. Grill the kofte for 6 – 8 minutes, turning until they are nice browned. Spoon the sauce over a warm platter, drizzle with yogurt and put the kofte on top. Scatter with the pine nuts and serve with coriander, pittas and couscous.
  5. And more wine.
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Healthy, Moroccan, Seafood, Tagines

Fish tagine with saffron & almonds

Serves: 4

Nat cooked this number last week and it was awesome.

Low calorie – 299 per serve to be seriously precise – and packing so much flavour, we had it with cauliflower rice remit with toasted cumin and coriander: some currants mixed through – as Nat pointed out – would have sealed the deal.

To think you can eat dinner like this on the couch mid-week, with a glass of vino and some catch-up TV actually makes the weekday slog OK. These are the moments to look forward to.

There is nothing not to like about this one and plenty to love. Do a kilo of fish like we did and toast the goodness into lunch at work as well.

Ingredients

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Good pinch, saffron
500ml hot fish or chicken stock
2 garlic cloves, crushed
Thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and grated
Green chilli, sliced (de-seed if you don’t want it too hot)
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato puree (passata)
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp ground almond (almond meal)
Zest of 1 orange, juice of ½
1 tbsp honey
700gm white fish, cut into chunks (make it a kilo and call it lunch)
Small bunch coriander, chopped
Handful flaked almonds, toasted
Couscous and natural yogurt to serve

Method

  1. Heat the oil in a large pan; add the onion and cook for a few minutes until soft. Meanwhile, put the saffron in the hot stock and allow to steep.
  2. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan and cook for a few minutes more. Add the spices and tomato puree, stir for a few minutes and then add the tomatoes, ground almonds, orange zest and juice, honey and saffron-scented stock. Simmer until thickened a little and the tomatoes have broken down.
  3. Add the fish to the pan; stir in softly and cover with a lid; simmer for a few minutes until just cooked. Check the seasoning.
  4. Serve scattered with the chilli along with the couscous and a blob of yogurt. Or cauliflower rice if you are a genius like Nat.
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Lamb, Mince, Moroccan

Karen Martini’s Spiced Lamb Meatballs in Tomato Sauce with Eggs and Coriander

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Meatballs out of the oven and waiting for the passata and eggs.

Serves: 4

I am yet to do a Karen Martini recipe that hasn’t been a keeper and this is no exception.

What a Sunday night treat, served with this clever Adam Liaw salad.

The spicy lamb meatballs are divine, what with the richness of the egg and the sweetness of the tomato sauce. And it all presents beautifully.

Sadly, so well that you will struggle to make a lunch out of it the next day. This really is a dish that is hard to stop eating.

Both of the boys loved them with Oliver describing them as ‘better than better’. Little did he know he was eating chilli, sumac and coriander.

A winner on all fronts.

Ingredients

1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
½ bunch parsley, finely chopped
½ bunch coriander, finely chopped
2 tsp salt
½ onion, finely diced and cooked with a little oil until soft
500gm lamb mince
½ cup fresh breadcrumbs
7 eggs
½ bunch parsley, leaves picked
½ bunch coriander, leaves picked
2 tbsp sumac
8 tbsp tomato passata
1 lemon, juiced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Place spices, chopped parsley and coriander, salt, onion, lamb, 1 egh and breadcrumbs in a large bowl and combine well with your hands.
  3. Roll lamb mixture into 8 oval football shapes, coat in parsley and coriander and place on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Sprinkle with sumac and bake for 15 minutes; remove from the oven.
  4. Spoon passata into an ovenproof dish, place meatballs on top, crack 6 eggs over the top and bake for 12 minutes or until the eggs are cooked to your liking. Squeeze over the lemon juice and serve.
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Moroccan, Poultry

Jamie Oliver’s Couscous Stuffed Roast Chicken

 

Serves: 4

This roast chicken is on a whole other level and a quick read through the ingredients will tell you why.

It looks and tastes dramatic. Real Jamie sort of stuff. The filling forms such a fabulous base for the chicken – so much so that you almost don’t need a side.

Though an orange, olive and onion salad couldn’t hurt!

Enjoy as much as I did.

Ingredients

1 whole chicken
1 cup couscous
Zest and juice of an orange
Zest and juice of a lemon, reserving the lemon halves
2 handfuls of pistachios, or any nut,  roughly chopped
2 handfuls of dried blueberries, or any dried fruit
1 large handful of fresh mint and parsley, plus a little extra to throw on top, roughly chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, plus more to coat chicken
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cardamon seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp salt

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180c.
  2. Put the couscous, orange and lemon zest and juice, dried fruit, nuts and fresh herbs in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and half a cup of warm water and mix everything together.
  3. With a mortar and pestle or spice blender, pound all the spices with the salt until you have a powder.
  4. Stuff the bird with the couscous mixture. Block the cavity with lemon halves that you have squeezed the juice from. This will keep the couscous from falling out of the chicken.
  5. Rub the chicken with a little olive oil and all of the spice mixture. Throw on the rest of the fresh herb mixture.
  6. Roast the chicken for an hour or so until a thermometer reads 70c. Let it rest for 10-15 minutes before carving.
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