Recipe of the week
Pumpkin-vegetable stew: A couscous that’s ready to party
A vegetable couscous is “a happy dish for a happy day,” said Adeena Sussman in Sababa: Fresh, Sunny Flavors From My Israeli Kitchen (Avery). In Tel Aviv, where I’ve lived since 2015, I learned the recipe below from the mother of a chef who makes it as a housewarming gift, because couscous is considered a good-luck talisman.
When prepping the dish, follow her advice: “You want to leave all the vegetables big,” she says. “You want them to be sexy.” A touch of brown sugar helps to caramelize them and add depth.
I make couscous from scratch, but you can use store-bought. And to turn the meal into a party, serve the stew with couscous condiments, such as lightly pickled chopped vegetables or a lemony charred-tomato salsa.
Recipe of the week
Pumpkin-vegetable stew with couscous
7 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
⅓ cup grapeseed oil
3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise
and then crosswise
2 medium onions, peeled, quartered
through the root
1 medium celery root, peeled and cut into
3 large celery stalks, strings removed, cut
in large chunks
15-oz can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
4 tsp kosher salt, plus more to taste
3 tbsp sweet paprika
1 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1¼ tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground mace or ½ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground turmeric
¼ cup tomato paste
1½ lbs pumpkin, rind on, seeded, cut in
3 small zucchini, trimmed
6 sprigs each fresh dill, parsley, and cilantro,
tied in a bundle with kitchen twine
½ very small green cabbage, cut in 4 wedges
2 medium ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
3 small potatoes, halved
Store-bought couscous, prepared per directions to make 8 cups
In a saucepan, warm broth over very low heat and simmer, covered, until ready to use.
In a large (6- or 8-qt), wide-bottomed soup pot with a tight-fitting lid, heat grapeseed oil over medium heat. Add carrots and onions and cook, turning occasionally, until outer parts caramelize, 6 minutes total. Add celery root and celery; cook until vegetables soften, about 5 minutes. Add chickpeas, stir in brown sugar, cover, and cook until vegetables release liquid, 5 minutes.
Stir in salt and spices. Cook 1 minute. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, until absorbed, 2 minutes. Add pumpkin, zucchini, herb bundle, and enough warm broth to cover vegetables, about 3 cups. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, reduce heat to medium-low, and cover. Simmer until vegetables soften slightly, 15 minutes. Uncover; add remaining broth. Nestle cabbage, tomatoes, and potatoes in pot and return to a vigorous boil, then reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook until potatoes are tender, 40 minutes.
To serve, discard herb bundle, mound cooked couscous into bowls, and top with vegetables and broth. Serves 8 to 10. ■