Not Your Mother's Couscous
Reprinted with permission from The Intolerant Gourmet by Barbara Kafka, copyright © 2011. Published by ARTISAN BOOKS, a division of Workman Publishing.
- Servings: 4 to 6.
From The Intolerant Gourmet: Glorious Food Without Gluten & Lactose, by Barbara Kafka. She writes in the recipe's introduction in response to the recipe's title:
"Well, of course not, as couscous is a pasta made from wheat. I have adapted my recipe to use quinoa instead. My first introduction to couscous was via Paula Wolfert's fabulous first book. This by no means implies that she is responsible for this recipe.
There is a little triumph hidden in this recipe, which is my substitute for classic preserved lemons. If you are one of those wonders who have preserved lemons on hand, you should certainly use them. I put almonds out in a bowl -- some like them; some don't. Harissa is now readily available in markets. I find that which comes in tubes preferable.
If a good butcher is available, asking to have the chickens cut up as for Chinese stir-frying usually does the trick. Otherwise, use a good cleaver."
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 3/4 pounds small onions (1 1/2 to 2 inches across), stem and root ends removed (about 8 cups)
- 1 cup rice bran
- One 4 1/2 pound chicken, cut into about 16 small pieces through the bone
- 1 pound white mushrooms, stemmed and quartered (about 5 cups)
- 1 1/2 pounds yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, deribbed, and cut into 1-inch squares (6 to 7 cups)
- 1 head garlic, smashed, cloves separated, and peeled
- 2 cups unsweetened dried apricots
- 12 "Preserved" Lemon wedges (see below)
- Two 3-inch cinnamon sticks
- 2 tablespoons harissa
- 4 cups chicken stock
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
- Kosher salt
- 6 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups whole roasted almonds
- Heat the oil in a 6-quart braising pot over high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onions. Cook until light brown, about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Move the onions to a platter.
- Spread the rice bran on a newspaper or large sheet of parchment and dredge the chicken in it. Working in small batches (three or four pieces at a time) brown each piece of chicken in the hot oil, then move to a platter when done.
- When finished browning the chicken, reduce the heat to low and return the onions and chickens to the pot. Add the mushrooms, yellow peppers, garlic, apricots, lemon wedges, cinnamon, and harissa. Pour in the chicken stock and stir to combine. Cover the pot and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer for 30 minutes more.
- Season with the lemon juice and salt to taste. Serve with a bowl of quinoa and almonds on the side for people to add if they wish.
From Barbara Kafka: "This is cheating, but I think that is a triumph. It permits me to make Moroccan dishes without having had the forethought to make real preserved lemons. The recipe can easily be multiplied if you like to cook Moroccan food often. The entire lemon is edible and silky. If you want to make the genuine article, read Paula Wolfert. This version will get closer to her kind by keeping in the refrigerator for about a month. Watch out for seasonings when using the lemons, which are very salty."
Makes 12 wedges
1 cup kosher salt
2 lemons, washed, trimmed of ends, each cut lengthwise into 6 wedges, seeds removed
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Place the salt and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over high heat (the liquid will be oversaturated, and the salt will eventually precipitate). Add the lemons, skin side down, and simmer for 30 minutes. Drain the lemons; rinse once, place in a container covered with the lemon juice, and allow to cool.