This is one of my favourite ways to eat root vegetables – winter vegetable couscous adapted a little from Ottolenghi Plenty (262). It doesn’t look anything special, but the magic Ottolenghi spicing makes it out of the ordinary. The recipe calls for parsnip, but I didn’t grow any last year so I used jerusalem artichoke instead which I have quite a lot of – it was fine. You could easily mix and match veggies here.
Winter Vegetable Couscous – serves 4: couple of carrots, couple of onions or shallots, half a squash, some jerusalem artichokes, tin of chickpeas, 100g of dried apricots, 2 cinamon sticks, 4 star anise, 3 bayleaves, lots of olive oil, 1/2/ tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp ground tumeric, pinch of chilli (or more if you like it hot), harissa paste (to taste), 3/4 of a preserved lemon. For the couscous use 170g couscous, boiling water, pinch of saffron, salt, knob of butter.
Preheat the oven to 190C. Chop the root vegetables up into bite-size chunks. Put in a baking dish or roasting pan. Add the whole spices and ground spices (but not the preserved lemon and harissa) and olive oil and mix to coat. Cook in the oven until roasted. Ottolenghi says to put the squash in after you have cooked the other vegetables for 15 minutes – I sometimes do this, but sometimes I am lazy and just chuck it all in together. Add the dried apricots, chickpeas and a little water and cook for another 10 minutes.
Make the couscous – put in a bowl with saffron and some salt – pour on some boiling water – cover and leave. I add a bit of water and then add a little more later as I can’t be bothered to measure stuff out. Add just enough so it can absorb it. Add some butter and cover. Take the roast veggies out of the oven, stir in the preserved lemon and spoonfuls of harissa – serve on top of the couscous. You can sprinkle on fresh coriander if you have any – we didn’t. I serve it with extra harissa and yoghurt. And I always make enough so we have leftovers.