- ACTIVE: 1 HR 30 MIN
- TOTAL TIME: 3 HRS 30 MIN
- SERVINGS: 8
In Morocco, couscous is the traditional ending of a meal, served to ensure that no one leaves the table hungry. There are dozens of variations; in this classic preparation, the carrots, chickpeas, zucchini, turnips and butternut squash are great sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. Together with semolina couscous (a low-fat complex carbohydrate) and lean chicken, this dish is one of the world's most nutritionally balanced meals.
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 pounds skinless chicken thighs
- 2 pounds veal shanks, cut 1 1/2 inches thick
- 2 large tomatoespeeled, seeded and quartered
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
- 2 small cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- Large pinch of cayenne pepper
- Large pinch of saffron threads, crumbled
- 10 cilantro sprigs and 10 flat-leaf parsley sprigs, tied in cheesecloth
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
- 3 medium turnips, peeled and quartered
- 1 fennel bulb, cored and cut lengthwise into thick wedges
- 1 pound peeled butternut squash, cut into 3-inch chunks
- 2 large zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 2-inch pieces
- Two 15-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 2 cups instant couscous (14 ounces)
- Harissa or other hot sauce, for serving
- In a large soup pot, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in the olive oil. Add the onion and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until softened, about 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the onion to a bowl, add the chicken and veal to the pot in a single layer and cook until the meat is browned on the bottom, about 5 minutes. Turn the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes longer.
- Add 2 1/2 quarts of water, the cooked onion, the tomatoes, ginger, cinnamon sticks, paprika, cayenne, saffron and herb bundle to the pot and bring to a boil, skimming. Season generously with salt and black pepper. Cover partially and simmer over moderately low heat until the chicken is just cooked through, about 35 minutes; transfer to a plate. Continue cooking the veal, partially covered, until tender, about 1 1/4 hours longer. Add the veal to the chicken. Discard the herb bundle and cinnamon sticks and refrigerate the broth until chilled; skim off any fat from the surface.
- Meanwhile, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan. Add the couscous and cook over moderately high heat, stirring constantly, until nutty and lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Add 5 1/2 cups of water and a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover, remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Using 2 forks, fluff the couscous and mound it in 8 large bowls. Spoon the meat, vegetables and broth over the couscous and serve, passing the harissa on the side.
To bridge the many flavors here, look for a light Pinot Noir from California or Oregon to serve cool.