For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may know that I spent the long weekend in Palm Springs, California with some of my best girlfriends. And for those of you who live in the world, you may know that transitions can be uncomfortable. Like, say, going from the sunny desert surrounded by old friends in an adorable Mid-Century modern house with a pool, back to the reality of navigating the battle zone that is the Trader Joe's parking lot and setting up/understanding your new health insurance. But it's all OK in the end because this same world can offer up embracing carrots and this delicious Moroccan vegetable soup.
My only complaint about this soup is a strange one. See, if you happen to have some harissa on hand, it comes together a little too quickly. By the time I'd fallen into a rhythm in the kitchen, the soup was all but made. So maybe next time I'll roast the vegetables to add not only an extra step (ha!) but also a bit more depth of flavor.
A few notes: I couldn't find a rutabaga, so I substituted a bulb of fennel. Also: no saffron? No problem. I left it out altogether and don't think I really missed it. And lastly, my grocery store didn't have Israeli couscous, so I used a smaller-sized variety. Again, it all worked.Mavis's face (This also helps with the transition.) and make another pot of this soup. In other words, a good start to the week!
Exciting Update: Our video "Bon Appetempt Goes to Paris" is a finalist in Saveur's Video Festival under the Culinary Travel category! Please vote if you're feeling up to it. Merci!!
Moroccan Vegetable Soup slightly adapted from Martha Stewart
serves 4-61 pound carrots, washed, trimmed, and cut on the bias into 3-inch-long pieces
1 fennel bulb, sliced and chopped into 3 or 4-inch-long pieces
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots (2 to 3 small)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons harissa (North African hot-chile paste;kalustyans.com)
1/3 cup dry white wine
1 can (15.5 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 1/2 cups Israeli couscous
Coarsely chopped cilantro, for garnish
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add carrots and fennel, and simmer 2 minutes. Reserve 6 cups cooking water, then drain vegetables.
Place oil in a large, wide, deep pot over medium-high heat. Add shallots and 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until shallots are softened and golden brown in places, about 5 minutes. Add cumin and harissa, and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine, and simmer 30 seconds.
Add vegetables, chickpeas, reserved cooking water, and saffron to pan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat, and cover. Simmer until vegetables are crisp-tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with 2 teaspoons salt.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, and cook couscous until al dente, about 7 minutes. Drain.
Divide couscous among 6 bowls. Ladle soup over couscous, and garnish with cilantro. Soup and couscous can be refrigerated in separate containers 2 days; let cool completely before refrigerating. Gently reheat together in a covered pot over medium heat, stirring occasionally.