Moroccan Stew With Couscous

Course : Middle-Eastern
Serves: 4
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1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
3/4 teaspoon salt -- divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon -- ground
1/2 teaspoon ginger -- ground
1/2 teaspoon turmeric -- ground
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg -- ground
1/4 teaspoon red pepper -- ground
2 cups water
3 whole cloves
2 cups sliced carrots
2 cups cubed butternut squash
2 cups chickpeas -- cooked or canned and rinsed)
1 1/2 cups cubed sweet potato
1/2 cup raisins
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
3 tablespoons brown sugar -- packed
1 cup couscous
1 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup chopped blanched almonds

Preparation / Directions:

For the stew: In a 4-quart saucepan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook, stirring, until softened. Add 1/2 tsp of the salt and all of the cinnamon, ginger, tumeric, nutmeg, and red pepper, stirring until absorbed. Add the water and cloves; bring to a boil. Add the carrot, squash, chickpeas, sweet potato, raisins, apricots, and brown sugar, and return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, 40 to 45 minutes, or until the sweet potato is tender. For the couscous: During the last 5 minutes of cooking the stew, place the couscous in a medium-sized bowl. Add the boiling water and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Let stand 5 minutes, then fluff with a fork. Serve the stew over the couscous and top with the chopped almonds.

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