Tag Archives: tomato

A HOT couscous soup for a cold night!

Joyeuses Fêtes and Happy Holidays!

(to paraphrase a Moroccan proverb)


To each of you, I send a box filled with sesame seeds.


Each seed representing one hundred wishes for peace, health, and happiness in 2012


Bonne Année, Bon Appétit and Bismillah!


A l'année prochaine!


 To counter grey days and world-shattering news events, I usually retreat to the

kitchen to ferret out the contents of my vegetable bin. Do I have what it takes

to make soup? Last week, while the rain pelted our skylights, I uncovered the

ingredients necessary for couscous soup. A true balm for the spirit! 

From my book, Couscous: Fresh and Flavorful Contemporary Recipes, a heart warming soup spiked with not-too-fiery harissa.


Spicy Tunisian Couscous Soup 

Serves 6

This soup is packed with flavor even if you omit the chicken. In fact, I often make a vegetarian version, adding other root vegetables such as turnips and rutabagas to the pot.

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

3 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons ground coriander

2 teaspoons ground cumin

5 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon Harissa hot sauce, plus extra for serving

6 chicken legs or thighs

3 small tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled, and cut into 1/4-inch slices

1 medium potato, peeled and cubed

6 ounces pumpkin or winter squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

8 cups chicken broth

1 medium zucchini, diced

One 14 1/4-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained

1/3 cup couscous

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

 In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Cook the onion, stirring occasionally until golden, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, coriander, cumin, garlic, and harissa. Stir to blend. Add the chicken. Stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tomatoes, carrot, potato, pumpkin, and broth. Cover and cook until the vegetables are tender, 35 to 40 minutes. 

 With a slotted spoon, transfer the chicken to a plate. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and bones. Return the boned chicken to the pot.

Add the zucchini, garbanzo beans, and couscous. Continue cooking until the couscous is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with extra harissa on the side.



Kitty’s Eggplant Tagine

Serves 4

I love eggplant’s versatility. It is one of the most widely used vegetables in the Mediterranean. It is often a substitute for meat. You can fry it, grill it (I often broil eggplant slices and freeze them. They don’t loose their consistency when thawed) or make this mouth-watering Moroccan tagine for couscous . Serve it cold, and it becomes a salad! 

2 medium eggplants
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely diced
2 large tomatoes, peeled and cubed
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Salt to taste

Peel the eggplants and cut lengthwise into 1-inch thick wedges . Set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat, and cook onions until soft. Stir in half of the cubed tomatoes,  paprika, pepper, cinnamon, and turmeric. Reduce heat to medium. Cook, covered, until mixture thickens somewhat. Add eggplant, remaining tomato and 1/2 cup water. Simmer until eggplant is quite soft, 12 to 15 minutes. Season with salt. To serve, sprinkle with cilantro. Serve over rice or couscous.

From The Vegetable Table: North Africa. Copyright 1996. Chronicle Books