Moroccans consider it lucky to combine seven vegetables in one dish. Substitutions are acceptable if the total remains the same.
- 6 tbsp. butter
- 1 lb. boneless veal shank, cut into several pieces
- 1 onion, peeled and minced
- Pinch saffron threads
- 1 small green cabbage, quartered
- 2 medium tomatoes
- 2 small chiles, seeded
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 cups fine grain couscous
- 1 waxy potato, peeled and quartered
- 1 small eggplant, quartered
- 3-4 medium carrots, peeled and quartered
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and quartered
- 1 white turnip, peeled and quartered
- 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 4 large chunks
- 2 small zucchini, quartered
- 1 cup canned chickpeas
- 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Melt 4 tbsp. butter in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add veal, onion, saffron, cabbage, tomatoes, chiles, 2 tsp. salt, and 1 tsp. pepper and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add enough water (about 4 cups) to just cover meat and vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, place couscous in a bowl, add 6 cups cold water, and soak for 10 minutes. Drain and transfer to a large platter. Allow to rest until all moisture has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Use your fingers to separate couscous grains, breaking up any lumps, then transfer to large fine-meshed sieve or colander that can be suspended in the pot over veal mixture. Set couscous aside.
After veal mixture has simmered, add potatoes, eggplant, carrots, red peppers, turnips, and butternut squash. Suspend sieve with couscous in pot. So that all steam is forced up through couscous, tightly seal space between sieve and pot with aluminum foil. Allow couscous to steam, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Using a large spoon, transfer couscous to same large platter. Break up any more lumps with your fingers, using a small amount of cold water if necessary. Return couscous to sieve and steam for 20 minutes more.
Transfer couscous to platter again, break up lumps, then use a fork to mix in 1⁄2 cup veal cooking liquid and remaining 2 tbsp. butter. Remove sieve from pot; add zucchini, chickpeas, and cilantro to veal mixture. Return couscous to sieve and place on top of pot, then reseal with aluminum foil and steam for a final 20 minutes.
Remove pot from heat. Transfer couscous to a serving platter and fluff with a fork. Mound couscous into a cone shape. Place veal at peak of cone and vegetables around sides, alternating different colors. Then place more vegetables around top, covering meat. Serve hot, with veal cooking liquid on the side.
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