After becoming a Monday-to-Friday-and-occasionally-weekend-cook for the past 4 years, I’m getting more and more “relaxed” when it comes to cooking. Honestly speaking, I’m not a kind that like to follow recipes to the tee. That’s probably why I don’t bake much because you can’t do that with baking 😉
I used to freak out when I forget to get certain ingredients for some recipes and that sort of throw off the plan to cook certain dishes. Well, I’m not anymore. I guess I’m getting more comfortable with substituting ingredients and trying to make the dishes more “doable” to me and hopefully people who come to this site looking for some idea to cook.
For the past two years I’ve been through lots of cookbooks and inspired by lots of cooking from different countries and this whole cooking thing has become not just a cooking, but it is also a journey and education to me. If you ask me, I still won’t say that I’m a “cook” because I’m not. I never get any professional training, but I’m someone who is very eager to try different food and capture the dishes that I make with my faithful camera and lenses.
With all the above said, this Moroccan chicken soup is an inspiration from, well, Morocco 🙂 with some twists on my own. I highly recommend this chicken soup. Not only chicken soup is a comfort food to most people, but this Moroccan chicken soup is so flavorful (thank to its spices) and hearty. It is practically a complete meal on its own, the couscous, the beans, and the chicken. Easy to prepare and if you live in a cold weather region, this Moroccan chicken soup is definitely calling your name 🙂 We loved it!
MOROCCAN CHICKEN SOUP WITH COUSCOUS
- 1/2 cup of dried beans it can be a mixture of any beans you like, I used 16 types of beans
- 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas or 1 cup canned chickpeas
- 1 onion peeled and diced
- 3 cloves garlic peeled and bruise with the side of the knife
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into 2-inch cubes
- 4 cups of hot water
- Dash of Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 Tbsp concentrated tomato paste
- 1 cup couscous
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- Small bunch of fresh mint finely chopped
- 16 quail eggs or 4 hard-boiled eggs optional
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1 tsp harissa you can purchase from the store or make your own, see note below
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cardamom
- 1/4 tsp ground cumin
- 1 bay leaf
If you are using dried beans and chickpeas, soak them in the water for about 2-3 hours along with the other beans and then boil them in a water for about 1 hour or so until you can easily mash them, drain off the water and set aside. If you are using canned chickpeas, you need not to soak, but drain off the liquid and rinse through cold running water several times and then boil them until soft and drain off water and set aside
Bring about 4 cups of water to a boil. Heat a large pot over high heat and then add in 2 Tbsp of olive oil. Add in the onion, garlic, bay leaves and saute until soft and fragrant. Add in the chicken, tomato paste and the spices. Cook until the chicken turn opaque. Add in 4 cups of the hot water you boil earlier. This is to ensure you do not lower the temperature too much. Bring it back to a boil and then lower the heat and cover the pot. Skim off the surface as it cooks. Let it cook for the next 1 hour or so or until the chicken is tender
After 1 hour, open the cover and add in the couscous and beans and let them cook for another 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, add in the hard-boiled eggs of quail eggs (if using) and ready to serve. Sprinkle with some chopped mints
If you can’t find store-bought harrisa mix, you can make you own by using: 3 oz (85 g) dried chili such as guajilo or ancho chili (soaked in warm water until soft), 1 clove garlic, pinch of salt, 1 tsp ground coriander, 1 tsp caraway seeds, 1 red bell pepper. Process everything in a food processor into a paste and add some olive oil to help it going. Store it in a container and pour some oil on top of it. Put in refrigerator and may last for 2-3 weeks.