Couscous Shepherd’s Pie
Ras el hanout is a spice mix used to season stews and tagines in Morocco. Its flavor and spiciness vary widely from brand to brand, which is why we recommend a range of amounts to use. Baking the prepared couscous on top of the stew gives it a fluffy texture with a delicate crunch.
- 4 Tbs. olive oil, divided
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced (1 cup)
- 3–4 Tbs. ras el hanout
- 2 15-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
- 4 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks (1 cup)
- 1 turnip, cut into 1-inch chunks (1 cup)
- 2 zucchini, cut into 1-inch chunks (1 cup)
- 1 ½ cups cooked chickpeas, or 1 15-oz. can chickpeas, rinsed and drained, divided
- 1 ½ cups couscous
- 1 tsp. salt
1. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 5 minutes. Add ras el hanout, and sauté 1 minute, or until spices darken. Stir in tomatoes and 3 cups water, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes. Add carrots and turnip, cover, and cook 10 minutes. Add zucchini and 3/4 cup chickpeas, and cook 5 minutes more.
2. Purée remaining 3/4 cup chickpeas in food processor until mostly smooth. Stir puréed chickpeas into vegetable mixture, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Pour vegetable mixture into 13- x 9-inch baking dish.
3. Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine couscous and salt in large heat-proof bowl. Cover with 3 cups boiling water, cover bowl, and let stand 5 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Fluff with fork, and stir in remaining 2 Tbs. oil. Spread couscous over vegetable mixture in baking dish. Bake 30 minutes, or until couscous begins to brown on top. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
January/February 2012 p.48