Growing up as a missionary kid, I had plenty of opportunities to try International foods. One such occasion, a family friend, who had served in Morocco as a missionary, made a wonderful stew with chicken and chickpeas served over couscous. Our friend Lena has since passed away, but my parents were able to ask for an authentic recipe for Moroccan Couscous from another missionary family that they know. This family had served in Rabat, Morocco for over 20 years. It had been on my bucket list to make this recipe for a few years now, and this week, I finally had the time to make it. It has a long list of ingredients and several steps to make the stew. It serves 10 – I did not think this through with only 3 of us home at the moment to enjoy it- I have a feeling I will be freezing some of this. You do need to start the night before, by soaking the dry chickpeas. The stew takes about 3- 4 hours prep time to finish. I cooked mine longer, because I wanted to get my Sunday nap! It made the meat ever so tender. This recipe is broken down into 3 stages because there are so many ingredients.
Serves 10 – McCrostie Family recipe for Authentic Moroccan Couscous
Ingredients (Stage 1):
- 1 cup dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas), covered in water and soaked overnight
- 6 bone in skin on chicken thighs
- 1 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 1/2 lbs beef stew meat, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 lb meaty soup bones
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 lb chopped onion
- 2 chopped tomatoes
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 2 Tbsp paprika
- 1/4 tsp saffron
- 1/4 tsp dried ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 3-4 quarts low sodium chicken broth
Stage 1 Instructions:
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot over medium high heat. Brown the meat in batches on both sides. Remove the meat to a large platter. Cook the onions in the drippings for about 4 minutes. Add the meat back into the pot. Add soaked and drained garbanzo beans (chickpeas), chopped tomatoes, salt, pepper, paprika, saffron, ginger and turmeric to the pot and stir to combine. Cover the meat in 3-4 quarts of low sodium chicken broth. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook coverd for 1 hour (or longer).
Stage 2 Ingredients:
- 1 lb peeled carrots, cut into chunks
- 1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)
- 1/4 tsp dried ginger
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 lbs turnips, peeled, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 lb pumpkin, peeled and diced (I used about 1/3 of a sugar pumpkin)
- 1/2 lb zucchini, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 2 small Asian eggplants (long pink eggplants- use a small regular one if you can’t find the Asian type)
- 1 leek, dark leaves removed, sliced lengthwise and washed thoroughly, diced
- cabbage, chopped (optional – I did not use)
Stage 2 Instructions:
Add carrots, turnips, parsley and cilantro to the stew. Continue cooking the stew at a low boil uncovered for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes add the remaining ingredients listed in stage 2 and cook an additional 30 minutes.
At this point I removed the chicken thighs from the stew and removed the skin and bones and added the meat back into the stew.
Stage 3 Ingredients:
- 2 jalapenos (divided use)
- 2 lbs thinly sliced onions
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1 cup raisins (soak in water for 10 minutes, then drain)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 cup honey (or you can use sugar)
Stage 3 Instructions:
In a small sauce pan, ladle 2 cups of the broth from the stew. Split a jalapeno about 1 inch from the tip and put into the broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat the butter over medium high heat. Saute the onions in the butter until they are golden brown, stirring occasionally.
While the onions are caramelizing, spit the remaining jalapeno and remove the seeds. Mince the jalapeno finely. Add the jalapenos to the onions along with cinnamon, black pepper and saute for a minute or two. Add the raisins and honey to the onions and stir to combine. Discard the jalapeno from the small saute pan and add the broth to the onion mixture.
Add this onion mixture to the stew. Stir to combine.
Cook couscous according to package directions.
To Serve: Mound the cooked couscous on a large platter. Ladle the Moroccan stew over the couscous and allow each person to eat a wedge from the common plate (this is how it is traditionally served and enjoyed) if you prefer however you can place couscous in a small individual bowls and serve the stew over it.