Merguez and Chickpea Couscous

Summer is for tossing salads but as soon as I spot the first sign of fall I just want to roast everything.

I went shopping today and I came across the cutest baking dish that I really needed (ahem). Arriving back home with my arms fully loaded (full Sherpa mode!), I unpacked my baking dish and I just couldn’t figure out where to store it (oops) so I decided to use right away. Problem solved! On this lovely fall day with a lovely new roasting vessel all I had to do is figure out what lovely thing to make? And then, inspiration came when I remembered that dreamy, fairy tale wedding we attended late last summer where they stacked a bar full of Egyptian pastries, freshly arrived with the guests. YUM! Sadly, my dress didn’t have any pockets so I couldn’t take some home with me. On the plus side, it also didn’t have a waistband I so got to stuff my face properly. Needless to say, I’ve been dreaming about sweet, spicy North African food ever since. And so, today, I’ve decided to break into this new baking dish with a lovely Moroccan merguez and chickpea couscous.

I love this recipe because it makes the house smell delicious, it’s super easy to make and it’s very versatile. You can switch the veggies with whatever you have (carrots or cauliflower would be awesome in this). The dates bring extra sweetness, which reminds a classic tagine. I went really easy on the spices because I’m feeding an infant but you can really go crazy and triple the amount written below, especially if it’s cold outside and you want to warm up your body.

Merguez and Chickpea Couscous

Ingredients

  • 2 C couscous (quinoa or millet would also do just fine);
  • 2 C vegetable/chicken broth (or water);
  • 6 merguez sausages;
  • 2 bell peppers;
  • 1 sweet potato;
  • 1 onion;
  • 6 fresh dates, halved;
  • 1 can drained and rinsed chickpeas;
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil;
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, chopped;
  • 1 tsp cinnamon;
  • 1 tsp cumin;
  • 1 tsp turmeric;
  • 1 tsp salt;
  • 1/4 C fresh chopped parsley;
  • Lemon wedges to serve
  • Directions

    1. Preheat the oven to 425C
    2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Once it boils, turn off the heat, add the couscous, stir lightly, cover and let rest for 5 minutes;
    3. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables & fruit: cut the bell peppers lengthwise, peel, half and then slice the sweet potato into half moons, half and slice the onion into half moons; pit the dates and slice into quarters.
    4. In a large mixing bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric and salt. Stir to combine;
    5. Add all the cut vegetables & fruit and the drained chickpeas to the large bowl and toss to coat everything in oil;
    6. Place the coated veggies and chickpeas mix on a lined baking sheet in one layer;
    7. Add the merguez sausages on top of the veggies;
    8. Cook in preheated oven for 25 minutes, mixing once at the halfway point;
    9. While the veggies and sausages are cooking, gently fluff the couscous with a fork until all the grains are separate (this might take a while but it’ll all be worth it);
    10. Arrange the couscous on a serving dish and put the vegetables + sausages on top;
    11. Garnish with parsley and lemon wedges and serve immediately.

    Cheers,

    JM

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