Making Couscous

DSC_0027 Our markets overflow with fresh vegetables at this time of year. A perfect time to make couscous! I am a definite novice and there are many ways of doing this, but this is what I do…DSC_0030 With oil (both olive and regular) covering the bottom of a pan and over a flame, I add about 2 or 3 large chopped onions, a handful of soaked chickpeas, a half to a whole chicken (with bones), and a heaping tablespoon of dried ginger, turmeric, pepper, and salt. Let cook for maybe 10 minutes to let the flavors soak into the chicken.DSC_0031Chop up the root vegetables, parsnips and carrots. My kids probably prefer potatoes over parsnips, but it’s parsnip season.
DSC_0032Take the chicken out of the pan, put the root vegetables in, and put the chicken back on top. Cover with water and keep cooking (with lid).
DSC_0033 DSC_0034 I busied myself cutting the rest of the vegetables while I heard the long Friday call to noontime prayer. This reminded me that I was running behind!DSC_0035The actual couscous grain requires a lot of skill, in my opinion. Since I’m using rice couscous, this isn’t necessarily the way that Moroccan women (who are professional at this, making it every Friday) would do this. I soaked my rice couscous in water for about 5-10 minutes.
DSC_0036 Then I squeezed the excess water out of the couscous in the sink and added it to my special couscous pan (rests on top of the vegetables cooking) which allows the couscous to be steamed. (Hannah entered into the kitchen at this point because she loves to help with anything that makes her hands get wet and goopy.)DSC_0039Take out the chicken one more time and place the pumpkin, zucchini, cabbage, and a small bunch of cilantro in, then chicken back on top again. Grate a tomato on top (with a cheese grater). Add water as needed. Cook for 20 minutes.DSC_0041Dump out the couscous (but let the vegetables keep simmering), let rest for a few minutes, and then get the lumps out. Add a little salt. Return the couscous back to the steamer pan for another 20 minutes.

By this time, everything should be done. I love the cabbage! A bit of the sauce should be poured on and the rest served in a separate bowl with the meal (to pour on your own portion, if you like). When eating, you kind of claim your own area. I heard one of my kids tell the other not to go past the carrot, because that was his. We become a little territorial! Delicious! Marhaba!DSC_0040When the humans feast, the guinea pigs feast too!

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