Dinner is one of those things that gives you an opportunity to turn an ordinary night into an extraordinary evening. You don’t have to wait for Friday night to do that. Why not have a relaxing evening in the beginning of the week?
In my desire to take another break from cookbooks, and still stay healthy, I gave in to my Mediterranean roots. After a trip to one of my local organic produce shops, where I was inspired to prepare a hearty dinner, I knew what to do.
At this point, you ask: so, what is it that you made?
The answer? Couscous with Moroccan style vegetable and garbanzo bean soup, served with baked turmeric chicken. Sounds like a lot of work, right? Not really!
Moroccan food is slow to cook, and for that I enlisted the help of my beloved slow cooker, which I used to make this delicious soup.
Here is what you need:
1/2 Butternut squash, cut to 2″ cubes
4 Carrots, cut to three pieces each
4 White zucchini squash, sliced in the middle and cut up to 1″ pieces
One big onion, peeled and cut to 8 pieces
1 can of garbanzo beans
Extra virgin olive oil
Here is what you do:
Drizzled one tablespoon olive oil on the bottom of the slow cooker. I like to use a plastic slow cooker liner, which makes it easy to clean later, but it’s up to you.
Place butternut squash, carrots, white zucchini squash, and onions (in this order) and top with garbanzo beans.
To season, drizzle just a touch of olive oil and sprinkle chicken bullion, salt, pepper, and turmeric according to your taste. Fill up slow cooker about 3/4 with chicken broth and… Cook for 6 hours on high.
This soup is served over couscous. Making couscous from scratch is a laborious and time consuming process. The next best thing, which I find to be an acceptable culinary substitute, is the out-of-the-box version. Just pick up your favorite kind (plain works best with this soup) and follow the cooking instructions. You can make this part right before you serve the meal, since it takes no longer than 10 minutes.
The traditional way is to serve these two dishes together, with couscous first and the soup poured over it.
Some people add chicken to the pot and cook it as part of the soup. I occasionally do that to make things easier, but wanted to have an abundance of vegetables, so I cooked the chicken separately.
Just spray an oven friendly dish with a non-stick spray (I like olive oil spray) and place the chicken on the dish. Season with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, chicken bullion, turmeric and parsley flakes, and a 1/4 cup water, cover with foil paper, and bake on 350 degrees for two hours. This is a delicious addition to the couscous and soup combo and makes for a satisfying dinner.
Dinner was fabulous and colorful. It looked like I slaved in the kitchen all afternoon, when in reality it was super easy to make. My family was excited to have one of their favorite meals served in the beginning of the week, to cure the occasional case of the Monday Blues.