I had decided to make Moroccan chicken wings for this Sunday’s dinner. Couscous is the obvious starch to go with them. Since I was using Ras el Hanout—a Moraccan spice blend—for the chicken, I thought it would also work well with the pasta.
Couscous is a tiny pasta that cooks almost instantly. If you want to flavor this starch—without over cooking it—you have to either pour the sauce over the cooked couscous or cook the tiny grains of starch in the finished sauce. For this dish I chose the second method.
Karl’s Moroccan Couscous
¼ cup pine nuts
2 Tbs. butter (use vegetable oil for Vegan)
½ cup red onion, diced finely
Pinch Kosher salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 Tbs. Ras el Hanout
¼ cup Zante currents
¾ cup couscous
1. Toast the pine nuts in a small dry pan, until browned and fragrant.
Tip. Transfer the pine nuts to a small cup until you need them.
Note: If you leave them in the hot pan, they will burn.
2. Melt the butter in a medium pot and sauté the onions with the salt until just soft, about 4-5 minutes.
3. Pull the onions to the side of the pan and sauté the garlic in the hole in the center until fragrant, about one minute more.
4. Add the spice blend and cook it for one minute, stirring in the onions and garlic.
Tip: This warms the spices and “blooms” their aroma.
5. Add ⅞ of a cup of water and the currents to the pot.
Tip: You may make the dish up to this point ahead of time. Couscous takes only five minutes to cook, so you want to finish this dish just before serving.
Note: You normally cook couscous in exactly the same amount of water as couscous. In this case the currents will absorb some of the liquid in the pot as they cook and “plump.”
6. When the pot comes to a boil stir in the couscous.
7. Cover the pot and remove it from the heat.
8. Let the pot sit for five minutes undisturbed.
9. Fluff the couscous with a fork and mix in ¾ of the pine nuts.
10. Transfer the couscous to a serving bowl and garnish with the remaining pine nuts.
11. Serve immediately.