Israeli Couscous Tagine

Joe and I lived together for the first time in 2008 during our second summer of law school. We sublet an apartment in the Chinatown area of DC (which incidentally is one of the most pathetic Chinatowns you've ever seen, but that's another story). I was really excited about this turn of events and had been hoarding recipes for months in advance so that I would be fully prepared to wow him with my culinary skills. One of the recipes was torn from some magazine that I don't remember, and it was a recipe for a dish involving Israeli couscous. The only problem was that when we got to DC, I couldn't find Israeli couscous anywhere. Both grocery stores we regularly went to failed to stock it. Whole Foods had a spot for it on the shelf, labeled and everything, but I checked every single week and it was always maddeningly empty. Over the course of the summer, I became steadily more obsessed with Israeli couscous, but I never found it. Sadly, I was never able to impress Joe with my Israeli couscous, but I guess it worked out okay because he agreed to live with me again after we graduated (whew).

Well, it just so happens that our Harris Teeter in Arlington does carry Israeli couscous, and when I discovered this, I eagerly bought a box the second I saw it even though I had long ago thrown away the recipe I wanted to make that fateful summer. Fortunately, I found another recipe and finally got around to making it last night. It's from Mark Bittman's awesome compendium How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, and it was delicious. Joe, I hope you were wowed.

Israeli Couscous Tagine
From How to Cook Everything Vegetarian
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2 zucchini, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Half a head of cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 carrots, peeled and cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 cup Israeli (pearl) couscous
Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for 5 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic, ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon sticks, and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, for another 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add the broth, apricots, tomatoes, chickpeas, zucchini, cauliflower, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the vegetables are just tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the couscous and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the couscous is al dente. Remove cinnamon sticks, adjust seasonings as necessary, and serve.