Algeria: Algerian Vegetables with Couscous

Algerian Vegetables with Couscous

I read a lot of recipes and descriptions for this dish and came up with a wonderful array of fresh veggies to include (potatoes, chickpeas, and lentils not pictured).

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_raw_veggies

I diced all of these vegetables and set them aside while I prepared the spices (cloves not pictured… I forgot about them until later).

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_spices

Then I sautéed the onions in oil.  I did this in a stockpot, since I knew I would be adding a lot of other ingredients soon.  After the onions started to become translucent, I added the cinnamon, salt, pepper, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and cloves.

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_onions&spices

I then added all of the vegetables (excluding the chickpeas):

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_veggies_in_pan

and added enough water to cover the contents.

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_veggies_in_pan_with_water

After bringing this to a boil, I set it aside to simmer for an hour or two.  Meanwhile, I started the couscous.  I decided to follow the traditional way of cooking couscous, although there seem to be several variations on the tradition.

We bought the most unprocessed couscous we could find and dumped 3 cups in a large bowl.  I added a cup or two of water (I used some hot water and some cooking liquid from the vegetable stew) and mixed it into the couscous so that it was all damp.  I let it sit for 5 minutes or so, then mixed in a splash of olive oil.

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_couscous_before_steaming

The next step is to steam the couscous.  I don’t own a double boiler, so I placed the couscous in a strainer over a pot of boiling water with a lid over the top.  I had too much couscous to fit in the strainer, so I had to make two batches.

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_steaming_couscous

I steamed it for 15 minutes, then repeated the process of tossing it with water (or vegetable stock from the stew) and oil, letting it rest for a few minutes.  I put it back in the steamer for another 15 minutes, then tossed it a third time.  Since I was alternating between two batches, I gave both batches an extra 5 minutes of steaming time at the end to make sure it was all hot before serving.

By this time, the liquid in the vegetable stew had reduced.  I added the chickpeas and gave them a few minutes to heat up, and then we were ready to eat!

Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_veggies_reduced Algerian_veggies_with_couscous_finished_couscous

Algerian Vegetables with Couscous

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 3 zucchini or yellow squash
  • 2 potatoes
  • 1 8.5 oz can artichoke hearts
  • 2 turnips
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1 15 oz. can chickpeas
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 cups couscous
  • water
  • olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Dice all vegetables to bite sized or smaller pieces.
  2. Sautée onions with oil in a large pot.
  3. Mix all spices in with the onions
  4. Add all vegetables and the lentils in to the onion mixture.  Do not add the chickpeas yet.
  5. Add enough water to the pot to just cover the vegetables.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for an hour or two.
  6. Put couscous in a large oil and toss with one or two cups of water.  Let it rest for about 5 minutes, then toss with a splash of olive oil.
  7. Place couscous in a double boiler (I used a strainer over a covered pot of boiling water) and steam for 15 minutes.  I had to do this in two batches.
  8. Repeat steps 6 and 7, then toss with water and oil one final time if desired.
  9. About five minutes before serving, add the chickpeas to the vegetable stew.
  10. Serve vegetable stew over couscous.
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