Ultimate Winter Couscous

from Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi Note: Only the UK edition of Plenty is currently in print, but an American edition will be available in Spring 2011.

Yield: 4 servings
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  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 star anise
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 5 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp chile flakes
  • 2 1/2 cups cubed pumpkin or butternut squash (from a 10-oz squash)
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chickpeas (canned or freshly cooked)
  • 1 1/2 cups chickpea cooking liquid and/or water
  • 1 cup couscous
  • Large pinch of saffron
  • 1 cup boiling vegetable stock
  • 3 tbsp butter, broken into pieces
  • 2 tbsp harissa
  • 1 oz preserved lemon, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cilantro leaves
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 2 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch chunks
  • 8 shallots, peeled


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place the carrots, parsnips and shallots in a large ovenproof dish. Add the cinnamon sticks, star anise, bay leaves, 4 tablespoons of the oil, 3/4 teaspoon salt and all other spices and mix well. Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.

  2. Add the pumpkin, stir and return to the oven. Continue cooking for about 35 minutes, by which time the vegetables should have softened while retaining a bite. Now add the dried apricots and the chickpeas with their cooking liquid and/or water. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes or until hot.

  3. About 15 minutes before the vegetables are ready, put the couscous in a large heatproof bowl with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, the saffron and teaspoon salt. Pour the boiling stock over the couscous. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave for about 10 minutes. Then add the butter and fluff up the couscous with a fork until the butter melts in. Cover again and leave somewhere warm.

  4. To serve, spoon couscous into a deep plate or bowl. Stir the harissa and preserved lemon into the vegetables; taste and add salt if needed. Spoon the vegetables onto the center of the couscous. Finish with plenty of cilantro leaves.
January 2011

This recipe is a personal recipe added by cindiemiller11 and has not been tested or endorsed by MyRecipes.

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