Vegetarian Couscous

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Credit: DG productions – Françoise Nicol

Don’t despair if you’re a coucous-loving vegetarian; this recipe from Alain Ducasse is made with peppers, carrots, turnips, fennel, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, and beans. Once you’ve prepared your panoply of vegetables, you’ll steam the couscous and cook the veggies in a savory broth. Topped with cilantro and fleur de sel, this recipe is both hearty and light – perfect for a weeknight supper (why not on Meatless Monday?).

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Ingredients (4 people)

Instructions

Step 1: Vegetables

Remove the ends of the pepper. Place it vertically on the cutting board, and cut it, following its natural form. Remove the heart, the seeds, and the white membranes. Peel it with a vegetable peeler Cut it into even rectangles, then in half diagonally.

Peel the carrots and cut them into 2 cm sections.

Remove all but 1 cm of the turnip tops. Peel them with a paring knife. Halve them.

Remove the first layer of the fennel. Quarter it, then remove the heart with the tip of a knife. Cut the celery heart in the same way.

Trim the base of the mushrooms. Peel the caps with the tip of a knife, starting at the base. Cut in quarters.

Remove the ends of the zucchini. Halve it widthwise, them remove the heart by cutting four slices around it. Halve these slices diagonally.

Remove the stem end of the tomatoes, and cut them into 12 pieces.

Slide the knife between the skin and the flesh to peel them. Remove the seeds.

Cut the runner beans in four on the bias. Thinly slice the scallions. String the green beans.

Blanch the runner beans and the green beans for 1 minute in salted boiling water. Immediately shock them in ice water.

Step 2: Couscous

Steam the couscous. Cover it with plastic wrap so that it stays warm.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat in a pot.

Add the pieces of pepper, carrot, turnip, fennel, and celery, as well as the lemon zest. Season with salt to help the vegetables retain their color. Add the mushrooms, zucchini, and tomato, as well as the unpeeled garlic cloves. Season with salt. Allow to sweat over medium heat for 2 minutes.

Add the broth, bring to a boil, and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat.

Add the scallions and the peas. Bring the broth back to a boil and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the fava beans and the chickpeas. Bring the broth back to a boil and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the green beans and the runner beans, and cook 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat.

Rinse and dry the cilantro and remove the leaves from the stems. Add it to the mixture off the heat.

Serve drizzled with a bit of olive oil and sprinkled with some fleur de sel, accompanied by the couscous.

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