Couscous is not one of my favorite things. I think it was because of all the West African Mechoui(s) (Mutton stuffed with couscous) I attended for receptions, births, marriages or whenever anyone wanted to celebrate anything. The really elegant Mechoui(s) had numerous stuffed sheep staked vertically around the lawn reception areas. 10-15 people would gather around each sheep and pull off bits of mutton and stuffing with their hands. I will never forget the sound of the stakes and bones as they hit the ground when each mutton was completely consumed. This took about 15 minutes or less. It was like a rapid locust fly by. In addition, as I took a polite handful of the mechoui, there was always the chance of raisin surprise that I did not adore
Anyway, cruising around the net I saw a number of sites mentioning “cauliflower couscous.” Sounded like a good compromise since everyone else in the family does like couscous and also cauliflower. I added some saffron for color and substituted pomegranate seeds for the raisins. The meal was a little more labor intensive than I had bargained for but well worth it.
I did have a little “souci” with steaming the cauliflower. Unlike Roger the Lucky with his couscous steamer, all I had was a dumpling steamer, lined with cabbage leaves that was not doing the job of steaming and heating the cauliflower after 15 minutes. I ended up just emptying the bottom of the steamer of water and dumping the cauliflower in with a little broth to steam in a perhaps inelegant, but satisfactory manner. Envy is a sin.
Moroccan Style Tajine Chicken with Cauliflower Couscous
2 tbsp ghee
1 large onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 small head cabbage, chopped
2 tbsp chicken broth
1 1/2 cup chaos cut carrots, lightly steamed
1 head of cauliflower, separated into florets and food processed into couscous like grains
1 capsule saffron
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 whole chicken, quartered and seasoned with salt and pepper
1 tbsp paprika
1 tsp each, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and turmeric
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 inch piece ginger, minced
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken broth
1 tbsp honey
1 tsp lemon
To make the couscous: Cook the onions and garlic in the ghee until the onions are translucent. Add the cabbage and saute for about 3 minutes, then add the chicken broth, cover and steam until the cabbage is tender. Mix in the carrots, cauliflower, saffron, salt and pepper. Add the the 1/2 cup of chicken broth and steam for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds before serving.
For the chicken: Mix together the paprika, coriander, cumin, cinnamon and tumeric, then rub into the chicken. Brown the chicken in the olive oil, then remove from the pan and put into the bottom of a tajine. Add the onion, garlic and ginger to the pan and saute until the vegetables are soft. Add the tomatoes, chicken broth, honey and lemon. Bring to a boil and reduce for about 5 minutes, then pour over the chicken.
Place the chicken into a 400 F oven and cook covered for 1 hour.
Wine suggestion: Brouilly