Monday February 21, 2011
Having enjoyed this dish many times since Paris and most recently at my friend's loft, I was excited to give it a try, so I put together a list of ingredients and headed to Chelsea Market (in NYC). First stop, the butcher for Merguez sausage. To my dismay I learned they do not carry Merguez sausage! This is not a good start; for what is Moroccan cous cous without Merguez sausage? While Merguez is definitely the preferred sausage--really, any hot sausage will do, so I went with the flow and chose a Chorizo Sausage. Combined with the chicken and vegetables it was actually quite good. Sometimes the unexpected works just fine, and in some cases even better.
The rest of my shopping journey was a success. As was this dish. I was told it was the BEST cous cous my guests have ever had. A nice surprise, but I insisted they come back when I make the next batch with lamb and merquez sausage. Post to follow one day soon.
One piece of advice, when serving this wonderful stew made from a delicious blend of spices and your choice of vegetables, lamb, sausage, seafood or chicken, it is best to first add the cous cous to your plate or bowl, moisten it with the broth of the stew and then place the vegetables and/or meat or seafood and top with more broth, and of course a good pinch of harissa to kick up the heat a bit.
Chicken Sausage Vegetable Stew
Moroccan Cous Cous with Chicken, Sausage and Vegetables
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
- 3 Tablespoons sweet butter
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large Vidalia onion, 1/2 diced, 1/2 thinly sliced
- 2 skinless chicken breasts, cut in 2 x 1 1/2" bite-size pieces
- 2 chicken thighs
- 1 tablespoon paprika and a pinch of salt (for chicken)
- 5 plum tomatoes, seeded, and cut in quarters
- 1 1/2 lbs spicy sausage*, preferably merguez sausage (lamb and beef sausage)
- 1/4 teaspoon saffron
- 2 tablespoons of hot water
- 1 quart of chicken stock
- 1 small bunch of parsley, about 8 sprigs tie together (stems and all...I tied a knot with the stems)
- 2 dried red chili peppers (one if you desire less heat)
- 2 six-inch sticks of cinnamon
- 5 carrots, peeled and cut into 2" pieces
- 1 large turnip, peeled and cut into 1/2" rounds
- 1 cup of yellow raisins
- 1 can of chick peas
- 1 box of your favorite cous cous (I used Near East with Toasted Pine Nuts)
- In a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add all spices and heat up for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
- Add butter and olive oil, stir until the spices are blended in the butter/olive oil.
- Add onions and cook until translucent - about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle salt and paprika on the chicken pieces
- Push the onions to the side and add chicken to the center, cooking until brown on both sides
- Next add tomatoes and gently stir, mixing all ingredients together, let simmer
- Place saffron in a very small bowl with hot water, set aside
- In a separate skillet, brown sausage on all sides, set aside
- Add chicken stock to the chicken, tomatoes and onions.
- Add the tied parsley and the saffron and water,
- Add carrots, turnips, raisins, cinnamon and sausage links, gently stir everything together
- Turn up heat and bring to a boil. When water comes to a boil, cover and lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 45 minutes.
- Add Chick Peas (water and all) and continue to simmer for a five more minutes
- Cook Cous Cous per directions
- Fluff the cous cous with a fork
- Place a 1/4 cup of cous cous on each plate - moisten with a few tablespoons of the stew's broth
- Top with Chicken, sausage and vegetables
- Garnish with Parsley and serve with Harissa on the sid