Moroccan Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup

My kids crack me up.  Yes, there are times when I have had enough, and I just snap, but sometimes the things they say are just too much.  Last month when we were with my father-in-law, my youngest was playing a guessing game with him.  She wanted him to guess the person she was thinking of – he happens to be a very famous person, with a very big job.  She said, “His first name begins with a B, and his last name begins with a B.”  At first we thought we knew who it was, but when she told us the last name began with a B, we were all stumped.  After a few more clues, we were sure she was talking about the President.  We asked, “Are you sure his last name begins with a B?”  She said, “Yes, Barack0 Bama.”  I swear I could not stop crying, I was laughing so hard.

Now back to food…I saw this recipe in Cooking Light, and I knew it would be risky.  Squash is not a fan favorite among the little people of the house.  I decided I wasn’t going to let that stop me though.  If it was tasty enough, they would love it.  I happened to make it one night when my older one was not home for dinner – which sometimes helps my younger one to be more adventurous.  I served the soup, and my husband and I loved it.  It had a really nice tomato flavor, and chock full of stuff – chicken, squash and couscous – with this lovely cinnamon flavor.  It was even better than I imagined.  Then came the moment I was waiting for – she was all excited to have soup for dinner, and took a bite, and actually went in for another.  After a few bites she said, “Mommy, I wouldn’t say I hate this.”  Well, that is better than the alternative.  She didn’t eat a ton of the squash, but managed to eat around it and got lots of chicken, couscous, and soup.  At least we avoided the cold cuts…success!

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 cups (1/2-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock or fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/3 cup uncooked couscous
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced into 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons grated orange rind

Preparation

Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chicken; cook for 4 minutes, browning on all sides. Add cumin, cinnamon, and pepper to pan; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add butternut squash and tomato paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in Chicken Stock, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in couscous, salt, and zucchini; cook 5 minutes or until squash is tender. Remove pan from heat. Stir in chopped basil and orange rind.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Moroccan Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine

Why is it that I can get my kids to eat meatballs, but when I make meatloaf they cringe?  It is something about the shape of the meat that gets them every time.  If I cut up the meatloaf into small bite sized pieces, I can usually trick them into eating it – until they see the loaf pan on the counter.  Personally, I love meatloaf – I love the simplicity, and the flavor of the beef cooking in it’s own juices.  On the other hand, I love meatballs too.  Especially when they are served with pasta and sauce.

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I thought it looked very interesting.  Meatballs made with cinnamon – I had to try this one.  Also – the meatballs cook in the sauce – with no pre-baking – how simple!  These were a huge success – I just kept taking another bite, looking forward to that next burst of flavor.  I served it over israeli couscous – and it was an incredible meal in a bowl.  I can’t wait to make it again.

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (20% fat)
  • 1/3 cup coarsely grated onion
  • 1/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

Stew:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon saffron threads, crumbled
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 2 cups 1/2-inch-thick carrot slices (cut on diagonal)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus additional for garnish
  • 1 5-ounce package baby spinach leaves
  • Couscous with Fresh Cilantro and Lemon Juice
  • Lemon wedges (for garnish)

Preparation

For meatballs:
Line large rimmed baking sheet with plastic wrap. Gently mix all ingredients in large bowl. Using moistened hands and scant 2 tablespoonfuls for each, roll meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on sheet.

For stew:
Heat oil in heavy large ovenproof pot over medium heat. Add onions; sauté about 15 minutes. Add garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, and saffron; stir 2 minutes. Add broth, tomatoes with juice, and raisins.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring stew to simmer. Stir in carrots. Carefully add meatballs to stew; gently press into liquid to submerge. Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro over. Cover pot; place in oven. Bake until meatballs are cooked through and carrots are tender, about 35 minutes. Sprinkle spinach over stew. Cover and bake until spinach wilts, about 5 minutes longer. Gently stir to mix in spinach, being careful not to break meatballs. Remove cinnamon sticks. Season tagine with salt and pepper. Spoon couscous into bowls; top with tagine. Garnish with cilantro and lemons.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Moroccan Beef Meatball Tagine

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine