When I read reviews about Ottolenghi's recipes, I see many people are put off by the number of ingredients. I find that funny because most of his recipes are things I can make without going shopping for extras. A well stocked spice drawer (or spice room) is the key to being spontaneous. Plus, many things can be exchanged without altering the heart of the recipe. Don't have parsnips? Who cares, use a different vegetable or extra carrots. Don't have dried apricots? Use dried figs or raisins.
2 carrots, peeled and chopped into chunks
8 shallots, peeled but left whole
2 cinnamon sticks
4 star anise
3 bay leaves
4 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp hot paprika
1/4 tsp chile flakes
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and chopped into chunks the same size as the carrots
1 zucchini chopped into chunks (original uses parsnips)
1-2 whole serrano chiles
1 handful dried raisins (original uses dried apricots)
200g (7 oz) cooked chickpeas (I cooked mine in the crockpot)
35-40 cL (11-14 floz) chickpea cooking liquid or water
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups dried couscous
large pinch saffron threads
1 1/2 cups boiling vegetable stock
1 Tbsp butter or more olive oil
1-2 preserved lemons, pulp removed and skins finely sliced
harissa and chopped cilantro for garnish
1. Place the carrots, shallots, serrano peppers, cinnamon, star anis, bay leaves, 4 tbsp oil, few pinches salt, and all the other spices in a large baking dish. Mix well and bake at 190°C 375°F for 15 minutes.
2. Add the butternut squash and zucchini to the baking dish, stir well, being careful not to break the pepper, and bake for another 40 minutes. The vegetables should be slightly tender.
3. Add the chickpeas with their cooking liquid along with the dried raisins, stir well, and cook for another 20-25 minutes. It should start to smell amazing.
Serve the couscous with the baked goodness topped with some preserved lemon slices topped with some harissa hot sauce and chopped cilantro.
That roasted serrano pepper went onto my plate. It was divine intervention.
This meal was full of pleasant flavor.. the cinnamon and star anise make a nice fragrant broth that infuses the vegetables. The butternut squash and shallots are nice and sweet, the chickpeas roast a bit while being heated by the fragrant broth.
Partaking in this feast was like breathing in Love..