Saturday, November 21, 2009

Missing Morocco

I have so many Moroccan cookbooks but I really haven't taken the time to make very much from them. I love couscous and it is such a filling meal that it is usually the only thing I cook. When I went to Morocco, one of my favorite parts of the meal was the salads that came as a first course. I decided to make a meal out of these along with Bastilla (which sounds weird but is AMAZING). The following recipes are adapted mainly from Arabesque by Claudia Roden and Flavors of Morocco by Ghillie Basan but I also did research online and blended recipes to get what I wanted. The most popular dish was the spicy eggplant and tomato salad (zaalouk). Here is the whole menu:

Carrot Salad with Cumin and Garlic

Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Salad

Roasted Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese, Onion, and Parsley

Chickpea Salad with Onions and Paprika

Chicken Bastilla

Carrot Salad with Cumin and Garlic

serves 4-6 as a small plate

5 carrots, cut into quarters lengthwise and then cut in half

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon cumin

salt and pepper

juice of 1/2 lemon

Boil carrots in salted water for 10-15 minutes, until tender but not too soft, then drain. In a large skillet, heat oil and add carrots, garlic, cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Staute over moderate heat, stirring and coating carrots in oil, until the garlic just begins to color. Sprinkle with lemon juice and serve cold.

Spicy Eggplant and Tomato Salad

Serves 4-6 as a small plate

2 large eggplants

4 large tomatoes

6 tablespoons olive oil

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon Harissa (can be bought at whole foods- very good investment)

2 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, finely chopped

juice from 1 lemon

sea salt and pepper

1 teaspoon ground cumin

bread, to serve

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the eggplants on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, until soft. Put the tomatoes in an ovenproof dish, pout over half the olice oil and put them in the preheated oven with the eggplants for about ten minutes. Remove the eggplants and tomatoes from the oven and leave until cool enough to handle. Cut the eggplants in half, scoop out the warm flesh, and chop it to a pulp. Skin the tomatoes, cut them in half to scoop out the seeds and chop the flesh to a pulp.

Heat the rest of the oil in a heavy-based skillet, add the garlic and saute until it begins to color, stirring constantly. Add the tomatoes and harissa and cook over a medium heat for 5-8 minutes, until thick and pulpy. Add the eggplant, parsley, and cilantry. Stir in the lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature with crusty bread.

Roasted Bell Peppers with Goat Cheese, Onion, and Parsley

Serves 4-6 as a small plate

3 red and yellow peppers

2-3 tablespoons of olive oil

6 oz. crumbly goat cheese or feta

1 red onion, minced

1 tablspoon flat-leaf parsley, minced

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Put the peppers in a baking dish, pour over the oil, and roast in oven for about 30 minutes until the flesh is soft and the skin is wrinkly and puckered. Remove from oven and transfer to a paper bag to cool. When cool enough to handle, peel and seed the peppers. Cut each pepper into quarters lenghtwise and place on serving dish.

Crumble the goat cheese over the peppers. Mix the minced onion with the parsley and

scatter over the peppers. Drizzle the roasting oil over the top. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

Chickpea Salad with Onions and Paprika

serves 4-6 as a small plate

1 1/2 cups dried chickpeas, soaked in plenty of cold water overnight

1 red onion, cut in half lengthewise, then in half crosswise, and sliced with the grain

4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1-2 teaspoons of paprika

3 tablespoons olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

2 tablepoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

salt and pepper

bread, to serve

Drain the chickpeas and put them in a deep pan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the chickpeas are tender but not mushy. Drain the chickpeas and remove any loose skins.

Tip the warm chickpeas into a bowl. Add the onion, garlic, cumin, and paprika and toss in the olive oil and lemon juice, tossing to make sure the chickpeas are well coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste and toss in the herbs. Serve warm with bread.


serves 4-6

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1.5 lbs whole chicken breasts

1.5 cups onion, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 teaspoon tumeric

1 cup reduced sodium chicken stock

2 tablespoons fresh coriander leaves, chopped

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teapoon pepper

1 lb phyllo dough,thawed

1 cup butter

1.5 cups slivered almonds, toasted


1/2 cup confectioners sugar

2 tablespoons cinnamon

In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts and cook until golden brown on each side. Remove and set aside. Add onions, garlic, and remaining tablespoon of oil; saute, stirring constantly until onions are translucent. Stir in spices. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are completely coated with spices.

Inscrease heat to high, add stock, coriander, and parsley to skillet. Bring to a boil and return

chicken to skillet along with any juices on the plate. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.

Remove chicken from skillet and set aside to cool. Continue to cook onion mixture, covered, until almost dry, about 15 minutes. Add eggs, salt and pepper. Cook until small curds begin to form. Shred chicken and add to egg mixture. Add toasted almonds.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To assemble the bastilla, place phyllo dough between 2 sheets of wax paper, then cover with a damp paper towel. Brush a 12-inch circular pan with some melted butter. Place 1 sheet of phyllo in the pan, allowing the edge to hang over the rim. Brush with butter. Working quickly, stack and butter about 11 more sheets, arranging them in the pan in an overlapping, circular fasion (like a pinwheel).

On center of phyllo, add the onion, chicken mixture. Fold overhanging phyllo over the top of bastilla and brush with butter. Continue to butter and arrange 12 phyllo sheets in the same pinwheel fasion over the top of the pie, tucking the ends in the side. Bake for about 20 minutes or until phyllo is golden. To serve, flip the bastilla from the pan onto a plate. Sprinkle with confectioners sugar and cinnamon.

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