A mainstay in Morocco, steamed couscous topped with a very liquid stew is undeniably delectable, but not exactly quick. We've found, though, that combining all the ingredients in a soup yields similarly sumptuous results in a much shorter time. The dish is decidedly spicy; if you prefer less heat, just reduce the amount of cayenne.
2 tablespoons cooking oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 4), cut into approximately 1 1/2-by-1/4-inch strips
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
1 sweet potato (about 1/2 pound), peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1-inch pieces
3/4 cup tomato puree
1 quart water
2 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth or homemade stock
1/2 cup couscous
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
In a large pot, heat the oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
Increase the heat to moderately high. Add the chicken, cayenne, cumin, salt, and pepper to the pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes.
Stir in the sweet potato, zucchini, tomato puree, water, and broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add the couscous to the soup. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pot from the heat. Let the soup stand, covered, for 2 minutes; add the parsley and serve.
Wine Recommendation: Soup with such a riot of flavors needs a wine that's big but simple. Try a California zinfandel here for its generous, spicy fruit, supple texture, and full body.
I am a fan of Moroccan food, so I thought this would be better than it turned out. I pureed a can of petite diced tomatoes because I did not have a can of the puree. I had to add more cumin (to make 2 tsp total), salt, and black pepper to give it more flavor. When that was not enough, I also added some lemon juice and cilantro as suggested by another reviewer. I used whole wheat couscous which gave it a strange smell, and it didn't help the overall flavor. My husband does not like soup or couscous, and I didn't think it turned out so great, so I probably won't make this again.
This soup is very, very good, but not outstanding. Like another poster, I added a bit of coriander to the chicken. I didn't have any pureed tomatoes, so I used petite dice. I left out the cayenne out of respect for my husband's delicate tummy, but added some hot sauce to my bowl--DEFINITELY like it better with some zing! It was delicious, easy and relatively fast to make. The leftovers are even better. Will make again for sure, and recommend it enthusiastically.
There's something special about this combination of flavors. The only minor change I made was to add 1/4 tsp. of coriander to underscore the Moroccan influence. I'll make this soup again. The spiciness was just right, and really welcome on a snowy 17-degree day! Warm bread dipped in the soup is heavenly . . .
One of my favorite soups! I modified it a bit by adding chickpeas and omitting the sweet potatoes. I also added some arugula @ the end to add more veggies, as well as some lemon juice and cilantro. The soup can be a bit thick so add the couscous sparingly. I have made it several times for friends and family and they love it!
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