Today, I have a recipe which isn’t completely new for me – you know the one, the type of thing which you’ve made time and time again with different variations. However, I think I’ve got it just right now with the addition of some new ingredients. This Moroccan Spiced Cous Cous is really easy to make and for me and involves all the ingredients I tend to have in the house anyway. If you’re watching what you eat, this makes a great healthy and low fat addition to a protein source like fish or chicken. It keeps well in the fridge and makes a good lunch, where of course you can also add your leftover meats into the mix if you wish to do so.
A cheeky little tip (the credit of which goes to my mum!) – as I’m using half an onion here, remember you can chop the other half, keep in in a freezer bag and pop it in the freezer for future use! You’ll notice I’m using a lot of spinach at the moment, which is because as mentioned in my previous blog post, I’m careful to keep my iron levels up so keep deficiencies and the fatigue that comes with it at bay. I’ve used frozen spinach here for for a more subtle flavour and because I think it works well for presentation because it is so finely chopped. Another new ingredient for me was the addition of dried apricots, which I’ve got a store of most of the time now after the Cajun Chicken with Quinoa and Puy Lentils has become a bit of a staple dish for me! In Moroccan tagines, dried fruits are often used and give a subtle sweet and fruity flavour which I wanted to add to this Cous Cous. With just 3-4 dried apricots you can really get a sense of that lovely flavour!
One final tip – this recipe is a vegan dish and is best eaten as a side or light lunch as opposed to a stand alone main meal. If you are using chicken and prefer a one pot approach, you can poach the chicken in the broth before adding the Cous Cous. This works particularly well with skinless chicken thighs (I normally cook them whole, take them out one at a time after about 10 minutes, cut them up and put it back in the broth until fully cooked), where cooking them in the broth will provide extra flavouring by acting as a natural chicken stock.
– 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
– olive oil, for frying
– 1 tsp cumin seeds (or ground cumin)
– 1 tsp ground cinnamon
– 1 tsp ground coriander
– 1 stock cube (chicken or vegetable)
– 1 handful cherry tomatoes, halved
– 3-4 dried apricots, chopped
– 1/2 cup giant cous cous
– frozen spinach (6 little bunches)
How to make it…
1. First, fry the onions in some olive oil about 5 minutes or until they start to soften. If using cumin seeds, fry these for around 2 minutes or until they become fragrant before adding the other spices. Otherwise, add all the ground spices and stir with the onions for 1 minute.
2. Next, add the stock cube, cherry tomatoes, dried apricots and a splash of water. Keep stirring until well integrated.
3. Add the giant cous cous and cook according to packet instructions, but using the spiced stock mixture as well as the water. Normally, it will need to simmer for around 6-8 minutes with about double the amount of water to cous cous.
4. Just before all the water has been absorbed, add the frozen spinach and cook for around 3 minutes.