I want to go back to Morocco soon and just eat! The sunny orange juice and the sweet minty tea and the colourful tagines and the huge honey dates – just everything!
We went to Morocco more than a year ago and embarrassingly I still haven’t found the right time to share here our packed with colours, spices, flavours, souks, deserts, hammams, mint teas and overly delicious food adventure. Luckily however my admiration and inspiration to cook something Moroccan has lasted long and last week it turned into a beautiful full of flavors dinner – bright peppers stuffed with fruity couscous. I am sure you will enjoy the recipe and I promise I will garnish it with some travel stories very soon.
I found the base for my recipe here: http://chefmichaelsmith.com/recipe/moroccan-couscous-chickpeas/ and added my own twist.
You will need:
4 – 5 colourful bell peppers
1 cup of couscous
3 – 4 garlic cloves
1 small can of chickpeas
½ cup raisins
2 cups orange juice
Zest from 1 orange
Zest from 1 lemon
1/2 cup almond flakes
1 small can of mandarins
1/3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of salt and black pepper
Begin first with the non-sexy job of cutting the peppers in 2 and cleaning all white bits and seeds.
Preheat the oven to 180C0.
Take a deep pan and make sure all ingredients are ready near you.
Take advantage of the clean pan and first pop in the almond flakes just to roast them for few minutes. Keep shaking the pan to help the almonds roast from all side and be careful not to burn them. Remove them from the pan and set aside.
Proceed with chopping the onion, the garlic and the carrot into small pieces. For the carrot I always use the peeler to cut fine slices which I then chop together in tiny pieces. Pop everything the pan and sauté with a bit of olive oil. Then add all the spices. This is when the magic happens! Once you have stopped sniffing the wonderful spices aroma that has nearly taken you to the streets of Marrakesh proceed with the couscous (or maybe that’s just me).
Add the 2 cups of orange juice and the couscous in the pan. Add the raisings, the drained chickpeas and the zests and stir. Bring it to boil and then reduce the heat and let the couscous cook. If you feel the liquid has absorbed too quickly before the couscous is actually ready just add some water into the pan.
Cook for about 15 minutes and just before the couscous is completely ready add the chopped pieces of canned mandarin and almonds. Stir for another minute or so and take the pan off the heat.
Now this already is a super delicious meal on its own. Feel free to serve it with a nice green salad or as a side. It will be perfect.
If you are like me and just want to do something extra, prepare for the peppers stuffing. Stuff a generous amount of the mixture into each pepper half and arrange the peppers in a tray just like boats.
Add a bit of water in the tray and pop the peppers in the oven. Bake for about 30min until the peppers are soft.
Serve the peppers on a green leaves base and make a fresh dip of strained yoghurt, chopped fresh coriander, za’atar and drops of olive oil. Now this might be my Bulgarian side calling that just can’t go without putting yoghurt on every single dish, but in any case it brings a bit of freshness to the dish!
I think I will be making these again soon as just looking at the pictures while writing this recipe has made me so hungry! I hope you are too! Enjoy!