Joyeuses Fêtes and Happy Holidays!
(to paraphrase a Moroccan proverb)
To each of you, I send a box filled with sesame seeds.
Each seed representing one hundred wishes for peace, health, and happiness in 2012
Bonne Année, Bon Appétit and Bismillah!
A l'année prochaine!
To counter grey days and world-shattering news events, I usually retreat to the
kitchen to ferret out the contents of my vegetable bin. Do I have what it takes
to make soup? Last week, while the rain pelted our skylights, I uncovered the
ingredients necessary for couscous soup. A true balm for the spirit!
From my book, Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes, a heart warming soup spiked with not-too-fiery harissa.
Spicy Tunisian Couscous Soup
This soup is packed with flavor even if you omit the chicken. In fact, I often make a vegetarian version, adding other root vegetables such as turnips and rutabagas to the pot.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon Harissa hot sauce, plus extra for serving
6 chicken legs or thighs
3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped
1 large carrot, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1 medium potato, peeled and cubed
6 ounces pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
8 cups chicken broth
1 medium zucchini, diced
One 14 1/4-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained
1/3 cup couscous
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, coriander, cumin, garlic, and harissa. Stir to blend. Add the chicken. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, carrot, potato, pumpkin, and broth. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones. Return the boned chicken to the pot.
Add the zucchini, garbanzo beans, and couscous. Continue cooking until the couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra harissa on the side.