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Pearl Couscous Tagine

Updated February 23, 2016
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This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

Tagine, the name of both the cooking vessel and the national dish of Morocco, is typically a stew with vegetables and spices, served with couscous. The curious pot, with its bowl-shaped bottom and conical lid, makes sense: It’s designed to allow just the right amount of steam to escape through the hole in the top and condensation to drip back down into the stew simmering below. But you don’t need a tagine to cook a great tagine; any deep skillet or Dutch oven with a snug-fitting lid will do.

4 to 6 servings

Cooking Time40 min

Cooking Time - Text40

CostModerate

Moderate

Total Timeunder 1 hour

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

OccasionBuffet, Casual Dinner Party

Recipe Coursemain course, side dish

Dietary Considerationegg-free, halal, healthy, high fiber, kosher, lactose-free, low cholesterol, low-fat, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegan, vegetarian

Mealdinner

Taste and Texturefruity, garlicky, herby, savory, spiced

Type of Dishcasserole

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • One 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots, dates, or raisins
  • 1½ cups chopped ripe tomato (about 1 pound whole, preferably peeled and seeded, or drained canned)
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup cooked or drained canned chickpeas
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into bite-size chunks
  • ½ head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 zucchini, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup pearl couscous

Instructions

Put the oil in a deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, and cinnamon; cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 2 minutes.

Add the dried fruit, tomato, stock, chickpeas, carrots, cauliflower, and zucchini, a large pinch of salt, and a good amount of pepper; bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook until the vegetables are just tender. (The dish can be made ahead to this point, cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Bring it to a simmer before proceeding.)

3. Add the couscous and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes. It should have a stewy consistency. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve hot or store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 days and then reheat.

Pearl Couscous Tagine with Caramelized Butternut Squash.

Replace the apricots with pitted prune, and the chickpeas with ½ cup mixed almonds and chopped Preserved Lemons . Omit the carrots, cauliflower, and zucchini. Add a medium (about 1 pound) butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch slices. In Step 1, cook the butternut squash in the oil until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes. Add the onion once you’ve flipped the squash to cook the other side. Proceed with recipe.

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The only ingredient I did not have on hand was the tumeric....not necessary as the flavour was fabulous. I followed the recipe explicitly and was very impressed. This is going in our regular rotation. Pearl Couscous is also sold under the name Israeli couscous and is the size of tapioca pearls

Halve the cinnamon sticks and reduce the apricots - if you like things to be less sweet

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