Sephardic Recipes With A Modern Twist

Sephardic Spice Girls

Vegetable Couscous

Vegetable Couscous


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Moroccan Vegetable Couscous

6 cups vegetable broth or water
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, separated
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium sweet onion
2 leeks, cut into 4 pieces
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 2-inch sticks
1 small green cabbage, cut into quarters leaving bottom intact
1 turnip, peeled and quartered
2 stalks celery, cut into 2- inch sticks
1 large quince, peeled and quartered
4 medium zucchini, cut into sticks
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 4 large strips
17 ounces couscous (substitute quinoa for gluten-free option)

To prepare vegetables:

  1. In large pot, boil 6 to 8 cups broth or water with 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper and turmeric.

  2. Add vegetables in order: onion, leeks, carrots, cabbage, turnip, celery and quince and cook for 10 minutes.

  3. Then add zucchini and bell pepper and cook for additional 10 minutes. 

  4. Remove vegetables from broth and set aside.

To prepare couscous:

  1. Place couscous in fine-mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until water runs clear.

  2. Place couscous on sheet pan and sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, let stand 10 minutes. 

  3. Add about 1/4 cup olive oil to couscous and run fingers through grains to break up lumps.

  4. Using couscousier (special couscous double boiler) or a simple double boiler, fill pot with vegetable stock (prepared at home or store-bought) halfway up sides of pot. 

  5. Place piece of cheesecloth inside steamer so grains won’t fall into broth. When steam starts to rise, add couscous, cover pot and steam 15 minutes. 

  6. Pour couscous onto baking sheet, add a few ladles of broth to couscous and break up any clumps with your hands.

  7. Put couscous back into steamer and steam additional 15 minutes. If steam is escaping through sides of steamer, wrap kitchen towel or more cheesecloth around it.

  8. Repeat process: Pour couscous onto sheet and add a few ladles of broth and separate clumps.

  9. Typically a third steaming is done just before serving. Because couscous will have expanded so much at this point, it’s best to steam in two parts.


SWEET ONIONS AND RAISINS (TFAYA)

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 pounds onions, mixed yellow and red, thinly sliced
1 cup golden raisins, soaked
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons honey or sugar

  1. In large pan, heat oil, add onions and cook slowly until golden, 30-40 minutes.

  2. Add soaked raisins, cinnamon and honey or sugar, and cook additional 10 minutes over medium heat.

ROASTED BUTTERNUT SQUASH 

  1. 1-2 butternut squash or pumpkins
    Olive oil
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  2. Preheat oven to 400 F.

  3. Peel and seed squash, cut into half-moon slices.

  4. Place slices on cookie sheet and toss with oil.

  5. Sprinkle with cinnamon and bake until golden.

  6. Serve on platter with Tfaya (onions and raisins) on top.

 

FRIED GARBANZOS AND ALMONDS

1/2 cup oil for frying
1 cup peeled blanched whole almonds
1 3/4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 13-ounce can chickpeas, drained
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Heat oil and fry almonds first. Drain on paper towels.

  2. Fry garbanzos and drain on paper towels.

  3. Reheat in oven before serving and season with salt and pepper.

Assemble couscous:

  1. Platter with vegetables.

  2. Platter with couscous, decorated with fried garbanzos and fried almonds.

  3. Platter with butternut squash and Tfaya.

  4. Bowl with broth.

Serves 6-8.

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