Moroccan Vegetable Soup

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. 
OK, my friends, off to go stare at 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 4-6
1 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)
Coarse salt
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.


Matthew said...

I loved this soup! Also, the embracing carrots were kind of a bon appetempt of this:

Sara said...

This looks great! I think I'll try it but first I'll have to go out and get harissa. Call me too much of a shah of sunset (yuck) but I think saffron is unnecessarily thrown into a lot of recipes where it is drowned out by other flavors. Like Ottolenghi's shakshuka. Doesn't need it.

Sara said...

Oh, and also I am just way too cheap to part with my saffron that readily.

Sarah said...

Oh soup. You are so delicious. This recipe looks hearty and spicy, and as always your photography has captured it brilliantly!
Hope you had a good time in Palm Springs! I would love to get there one day.

Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said...

Gorgeous soup Amelia! I love the idea of roasting the veggies and getting them all caramelised too!
I really need to get some harissa!

Mary Anne said...

We're the embracing carrots!!! i miss yooouuuuuuu!

Joy said...

this seems like the best thing right now. love love love carrots so much in everything.

Andrea said...

Yummy! I like turmeric as a cheap substitute for saffron - it gives the same gorgeous color.

zuzazak said...

yes! will definitely be making this. and you may also like my mum's ukrainian borsht recipe:



Mary Anne said...

yes! i like this idea.

Colleen said...

This looks yummy and the photography is fabulous! Soup has been helping us make it through this dreary Charleston winter...

AmyLou said...

Being a Beginner, I'm at all times looking for blog posts which will
help me .. Thank you so much.

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Anonymous said...

Israeli couscous is not actually couscous.

Amelia Morris said...

Yes we are!! Come back soon please!!

Lydia Webber said...

I love the irregular way the carrots/fennel have been chopped. So influential to the feel of the soup. Looking forward to trying this!