Martha Stewart Living (January 2013)
We're just back from California, where we ate everything in sight in San Francisco. More on that trip within the week, but in the meantime, it's time for us to get back to a bit of sane eating.
Sanity, in this case, begins with a Moroccan Vegetable Soup.
It's quick and surprisingly flavorful, just the sort of thing for a cold winter day.
Does anyone get excited about rutabaga? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?
We once referred to rutabaga as the nerds of the root vegetable world. When we get them from our CSA, or buy them at the farmers market, we're a bit uncertain what to do with them. With this soup entering our repertoire, we won't worry about that anymore.
So what are "Moroccan" flavors? In this case, as in the Moroccan Carrot Salad we made last year, it's predominantly harissa, that piquant mix of chile peppers, garlic, oil and salt. Here, it's combined with saffron, cumin and cilantro, resulting in a vegetable soup that's packed with flavor and has a surprising amount of spice. In fact, the spice-phobic among you may want to start with less harissa, depending on how hot you find yours. In our finished soup, the heat was a comforting, back-of-the-throat kind of burn, not a "blow your tastebuds out" experience. We loved it, but the heat may not be for everyone.
Complementing these spices are simply prepared rutabaga and carrots, along with chickpeas and Israeli couscous. If you're being very virtuous (or rather, more virtuous than we were) and avoiding pasta, you can skip the couscous.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Yield: Serves 6
Notes from Zach and Clay
- If you want to avoid the carbs, you can omit the Israeli couscous.
- We find that harissa is available at most major supermarkets. We bought ours at Whole Foods, where it was in the refrigerated section.
- If you're concerned about dishes being too spicy, start with half as much harissa, and then add to your taste.
INGREDIENTS1 pound carrots, washed, trimmed, and cut on the bias into 3-inch-long pieces
1/2 large rutabaga (about 1 pound), peeled and cut on the bias into 2-inch-long pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 to 3 small)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons harissa
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
Pinch of saffron threads
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
Coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish
DIRECTIONSBring a large pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and rutabaga, and simmer 2 minutes. Reserve 6 cups cooking water, then drain vegetables.
Place oil in a large, wide, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and golden brown in places, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and harissa, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine, and simmer 30 seconds.
Add vegetables, chickpeas, reserved cooking water, and saffron to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook couscous until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
Divide couscous among 6 bowls. Ladle soup over couscous, and garnish with cilantro. Soup and couscous can be refrigerated in separate containers 2 days; let cool completely before refrigerating. Gently reheat together in a covered pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.