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Recipes From Morocco

The Tradition of Cooking in Morocco:

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The cuisine of Morocco is rated among the best in the world, and rightly so. The food is carefully and artistically prepared, delightfully served.

A hostess in Morocco might take a week to prepare a suitable dinner for her honored guests. It would take a full day just to make Bstilla- a crisp pastry, rolled as thin as tissue paper, filled with chicken in a mixture "sweet and peppery, soft and violent."

 

The dinner starts with Bstilla, followed by the typical brochette or kebab flavored with bits of beef or lamb fat. Next comes the Tajine, chicken or meat in a spicy stew, which has been simmered for many hours, and it is served with flat bread called Khubz. header

In Morocco every household makes its own bread. It is made from semolina flour without shortening or milk. When the bread has been properly shaped, each family puts its own mark or stamp on it before sending it to a common bakery oven. After the Tajine, an eggplant salad or chopped tomato salad- is served as appetizer. Then comes Couscous, that marvelous Moroccan national dish made of semolina, cooked to perfection, each grain separate from the other. The dinner is completed with slices or wedges of peeled melon, pastries made with honey and almond like the Middle Eastern Baklava, and finally a small glass of mint tea. The recipes suggested her are delicious and will give you the "feel" of Morocco.

Serve tiny kebabs first (with or without a fork) on small plates. As soon as the kebabs have been eaten, remove the plates. The salad may be served as a separate course or may accompany the main course.


Couscous Marrakesh

Yield: 8 portions

A couscousiere is a large double boiler with holes in the bottom of the upper pot allowing its contents to steam. A couscousiere may be improvised by lining a metal colander with cheese cloth and placing the colander in a 6- or 8-quart pot so that the handles rest on the rim. A piece of heavy- duty foil can serve as a lid.

Moisten:

1 Ib. COUSCOUS in a 3 quart bowl with
1 cup COLD WATER to which
1 Tbs. SALT has been added.
Stir up with a fork and allow to stand 10 minutes to swell.
Spread the Couscous out in a colander lined with cheese cloth (or in the top of a couscousiere).
Place the colander over a pan, which fits it and is half filled with water.
Cover with aluminum foil and allow to steam for 10 minutes.


In a 6-quart kettle (or bottom of couscousiere):
Saute:

1 cup ONIONS coarsely chopped with
1 tsp. CORIANDER (powdered)
1 Tbs. SALT
1 tsp. CRUSHED RED PEPPER
1/2 tsp. SAFFRON
1 tsp. POWDERED CUMIN SEED in
1/4 cup PEANUT OIL until soft but not brown.

Add:

2 1/2 Ibs. BONELESS LAMB cut in 2 inch chunks and 2 quarts WATER.
Fit the colander (or top of couscousiere) with the Couscous over the meat, cover it with foil, and allow mixture to simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Add 1 3-lb. CHICKEN cut into 8 pieces to the stew and continue cooking for 30 minutes longer.
Stir the Couscous from time to time to make sure the grains are separated.

Add to Stew:

1 Ib. CARROTS, scraped and cut in 1-inch chunks
2 GREEN PEPPERS, cut in 1/2-inch strips
1 Ib. FRESH TOMATOES, cut in 1-inch wedges
1 Ib. YELLOW SQUASH, peeled and cut in 2-inch slices
12 oz. FROZEN STRING BEANS (regular cut) or PEAS
1 # 2 1/2 can CHICK PEAS, drained
1/2 Ib. BLACK RAISINS.


Correct the seasoning with salt and pepper.
Cook for about 15 minutes or until vegetables are soft but still slightly crisp.
Pour the Couscous into a large (15- to 18 inch) round serving platter.
Make a large hole in the center, pushing the Couscous to the edge of platter.
Arrange meat and vegetables attractively in center, pouring the sauce over all.

Garnish with PARSLEY SPRIGS.


Batinjaan Zaluk: Eggplant Salad

Yield: 8 small salads

This Eggplant Salad may also be served as an appetizer. It is an excellent accompaniment to a Couscous, as it is to any of the great entrees of Morocco. Be sure that the salad is very cold when served.


Peel 1 or 2 large EGGPLANTS (approx. 2 Ibs.).
Cut into 1-inch slices.


In a 10-inch skillet:
Fry in 1/2 cup OLIVE or SALAD OIL until soft.
Mash the eggplant.


Add: 1/4 cup ONION finely chopped
3 cloves GARLIC finely chopped (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
4 Tbs. LEMON JUICE
1 tsp. SALT
1/4 tsp. GROUND PEPPER
1 Tbs. SUGAR, and blend thoroughly.


Chill in refrigerator.
Heap 1/2 cup EGGPLANT MIXTURE on a 6- to 7-inch plate.
Mash it down to form a circle within 1 inch of edge of plate.
Dribble with 1/2 tsp. OLIVE OIL (if mixture appears dry).


Place:
1 slice TOMATO in center of circle and
1 BLACK OLIVE in center of tomato.

Garnish with PARSLEY SPRIGS


Mint Tea

Yield: 8 servings

Into a 6 cup glass or china teapot:
Pour boiling water, rinse and throw the water away.
Put in: 3 heaping Tbs. OOLONG TEA (do not use teabags)
2 heaping Tbs. DRIED MINT LEAVES
1/2 cup SUGAR.


Fill the teapot to the brim with BOILING WATER.
Allow to steep covered for 5 minutes.
Stir up the infusion and taste the liquid to see if it is sweet enough.
Strain into juice glasses (5 to 6 oz.).
Note: Prepare second infusion while the guests are enjoying the first. Add 1 tsp. tea, 1 tsp. mint and 2 Tbs. sugar to the pot. Add boiling water to allow to steep for 5 minutes. Stir again. Taste for sweetness. Strain to serve.


Couscous with Shellfish Broth

500g (1 1/4lb) medium couscous
1tsp salt
600ml (1pt) warm water
45ml (3tbsp) sunflower oil
1-2tsp harissa paste (hot paste, pesto)
25g (1oz) butter diced

For the shellfish broth:
500g (1 1/4lb) mussels in their shells, scrubbed and beards removed
500g (1 1/4lb) uncooked prawns in their shells
juice of 1 lemon
50g (2oz) butter
2 shallots, finely chopped
1tsp coriander seeds, roasted and ground
1tsp cumin seeds, roasted and ground
1/2tsp ground turmeric
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1-2 tsp plain flour
600ml (1pt) fish stock
120ml (4floz) double cream
salt and ground black pepper
small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped, to serve

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Place the couscous in a bowl. Stir the salt into the water, then pour over the couscous, stirring. Set aside for 10 minutes.

2. Stir the sunflower oil into the harissa paste until combined, then using your fingers, rub it into the couscous and break up any lumps. Tip into an ovenproof dish, arrange the butter over, cover with foil and heat in the oven for 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, put the mussels and prawns in a pan, discarding any mussels already open, add the lemon juice and 50ml/2floz water, cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, shaking the pan, until the mussels have opened. Drain the shellfish, reserving the liquor, and shell about two-thirds of the mussels and prawns. Discard any closed mussels.

4. Heat the butter in a large pan. Cook the shallots for about 5 minutes, or until softened. Add the spices and fry for 1 minute. Off the heat, stir in the flour, the fish stock and the shellfish cooking liquor. Bring to the boil, stirring. Add the cream and simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add the shellfish and most of the fresh coriander. Heat through, then sprinkle with the remaining coriander.

5. Fluff up the couscous with a fork or your fingers, working in the melted butter. To serve, pass round the couscous and ladle the broth over the top.

Serves 4-6.


 

Harira

Yield: 8 servings

500g lamb cut into small cubes
1 large onion, peeled & finely chopped
100g lentils, soaked and drained
100g chickpeas, soaked overnight and drained
100g of sliced celery
200g chopped tinned tomatoes
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon (optional)
salt & ground black pepper to taste
2tbsp of sunflower oil
water to cover
4 tbsp of butter ghee or salted butter
100g fine vermicelli
3 tbsp of chopped fresh coriander
3 tbsp of chopped fresh parsley
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp of plain flour

1. Heat the sunflower oil in a large saucepan and add the first 9 ingredients. Stir well and sweat for a couple of minutes. Add the water to cover and gently bring to the boil.

2. Whilst the broth is starting to boil, make sure you skim all froth from the surface. Add half of the butter. Stir and cover with a lid, then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer. Leave to cook for between 1 1/2 - 2 hours, top up with a little water if necessary.

3. Add the vermicelli, stir well and continue to cook for a few minutes

4. To finish the soup, dilute the flour in little water, stir in the tomato puree, chopped coriander & parsley, then add to the soup. Mix thoroughly, add the remaining butter and adjust the seasoning to suit your taste. Serve immediately.

5. A squeeze of lemon juice in each bowl will enhance this wonderful broth.

Serves 4 generously.


 

Tagine of Lamb with Peas, Lemon and Olives

8 serving

1kg (2lb) lean lamb, cubed
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion chopped
Salt and pepper
1 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of chilli powder, optional
1/4 tsp of saffron threads, lightly crushed
1kg (2lb) fresh peas, shelled weight
1 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Peel of 1 preserved lemon, cut into pieces
12 green olives

1. Put the meat in the pot with the oil, onion, salt and pepper, ginger, chilli and saffron.

2. Cover with water and cook covered for 1 1/2 to 2 hours until the meat is very tender, adding water to keep it covered in the sauce.
3. Add the preserved lemon peel and olives and cook uncovered for 10 minutes or longer, until the sauce reduced.

4. Add the peas and coriander, and warm through.

5. Serve with bread or couscous


Chicken with Preserved Lemon and Green Olives

4 servings

1 large chicken
3 tbsp sunflower oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
1/4 tsp saffron strands crushed
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
salt & pepper
good bunch of fresh coriander finely chopped
good bunch of fresh parsley finely chopped
peel of 1 to 1 1/2 preserved lemons, cut into quarters
75g (3oz) green olives soaked in 2 changes of water for 30 minutes

1. Put the chicken into a large saucepan with all the ingredients except the preserved lemon and olives.

2. Half cover with water (about 300ml or 1/2 pint) and simmer, covered, turning if necessary, for about 45 minutes.

3. Throw the lemon peel and drained rinsed olives into the sauce and cook for 20 minutes or until the chicken is so tender that the flesh pulls off the bone and the liquid is reduced.

4. Serve hot with couscous.


Moroccan Fish Cousotto

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 red onions, sliced into thin rings
2 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons salted, roasted cashew nuts
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thick rings
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thick rings
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced into thick rings
4 fresh, firm, ripe tomatoes, blanched, peeled, seeded, and sliced into thick rounds
1-1/2 cups fish or vegetable stock, or 3/4 cup fortified wine (such as sweet sherry or Madeira) mixed with 3/4 cup water
1-1/2 pounds (750 g) swordfish fillets, cut into 1-1/4-inch cubes
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
COUSCOUS: 2 cups quick-cooking couscous
2 cups vegetable stock or water, boiling
2 to 3 teaspoons butter
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)

1.Heat half the oil in a large heavy-based skillet and saute half the onions on medium to high heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until very dark golden, stirring all the time. using a slotted spoon, remove the fried onions from the oil, place them on paper towels, and set aside. Fry the raisins in the same hot oil until they plump. Remove with the slotted spoon and add to the fried onions. Fry the cashews for about 1 minute. Remove and add to the raisin-and-onion mix.

2. Add the remaining oil to the skillet and fry the other half of the onions until golden. Add the bell peppers and continue cooking for about 10 minutes, or until the peppers are soft. Add the tomatoes and the stock, partially cover, and cook for about 10 minutes on medium to low heat.

3. Stir the fish through the onion and pepper mixture. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Continue simmering for 10 minutes, or until the fish is tender. Do not forget to stir periodically to prevent sticking.

4. To make the couscous, place the couscous grains in a large, deep dish with a lid. Pour in the boiling stock and stir in the butter and salt. Cover and set aside to keep warm for about 15 minutes so the couscous can absorb the liquid and swell up.

5. Carefully pour the fish mixture over the couscous and gently fold it through to mix thoroughly into a colorful presentation. Sprinkle with the onion rings, raisins, cashew nuts, and the parsley.

6. Serve hot immediately.

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