I first tasted this dish during a Friday-night meal at a riad in Fez. Some families add lamb to the vegetables, and sometimes tfaya — cinnamon-spiced raisins and onions — tops the dish.
Serves: 4-6 Takes: 1 hr 5 mins
2 tbsp olive oil
2 red onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tomatoes, finely chopped
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground ginger
1½ tsp paprika
small pinch saffron threads
2 carrots, halved lengthways and cut into 5cm strips
250g new potatoes, halved
160g baby courgettes, some halved lengthways
230g baby turnips, peeled and halved
1 bulb fennel, cut into 8 wedges
350ml vegetable stock
½ small cabbage (230g), cored and cut into wedges
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into 6 pieces
small handful chopped coriander leaves
1 Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4-5 mins until a little golden. Add the garlic and cook for 10 secs, then add the tomatoes, tomato purée, spices and some salt and pepper. Mix well.
2 Put the carrots, potatoes, courgettes, turnips and fennel into the pan. Pour over the stock, mix together and bring to the boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 30 mins to soften. Push the cabbage and pepper into the sauce. Cover and cook for a further 20-25 mins until everything is tender. Check the seasoning and stir in the coriander.
3 Meanwhile, put the couscous in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and pour over enough just-boiled water to cover by about ½cm. Cover with cling film and set aside until the water has been absorbed.
4 Fluff the couscous with a fork and tip into a serving dish. Make a well in the centre and fill it with the veg. Spoon over some sauce and pour the rest into a little dish. Serve the immediately with the sauce on the side.
From Orange Blossom & Honey by John Gregory-Smith (£19.99, Kyle Books)
Read more about the couscous in the National Geographic Traveller Food Issue 3 cover story.