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Jan 19, 2007 02:32 PM

Favorite Recipes from Wolfert's "Couscous" book

I just got ahold of a discounted copy of Paula Wolfert's "Couscous" book, and am eager to try one of the bstilla recipes, and a couscous or tagine recipe. Any suggestions or favorites? Also, do you modify any of the recipes? I wondering especially if you might brown the meat before braising in tagine(rather than cooking entirely in liquid.)

I'm also willing to stray from tradition, so welcome any thoughts on great Moroccan-inspired dishes!

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  1. I have that cookbook, though not in front of me. It's usually my go-to cookbook when I'm making couscous/tagine, and couscous/tagine was for a long time my go-to dish for a crowd. I can't give any specific recommendations - though as I said, I've only made the stews, with chicken and lamb but not seafood - but everything I've tried has been great. I have a lot of confidence in her recipes.

    I read the bstilla section with interest, but it looks incredibly difficult!

    1. I want someone to make the bstilla and use the method she describes to make the warka (ouarka?) from scratch instead of using phyllo dough! She describes tapping a nugget of dough to make overlapping circles on a special curved hot griddle, and then peeling of the resulting thin sheet of dough.

      One of the tagines I've really liked is one of the variations on chicken with preserved lemons and green olives--I think that my favorite was the one with what were basically caramelized onions. I don't modify her recipes for tagines, except by maybe removing the chicken skin before cooking it, and using all chicken legs instead of a cut up whole chicken, because they cook more evenly--so maybe I do modify her recipes! I don't think I would brown the meat before braising it, though, unless she said to.

      Since it's citrus season, I'll also plug what has turned out to be one of my favorite salads--it's one with sectioned oranges and toasted walnuts served on romaine, with a dressing made with orange and lemon juice, sugar, salt, cinnamon, and orange flower water. I've added pomegranite seeds to this, which is very pretty, and I usually double or triple the number of oranges.

      1. I think I remember seeing that citrus, is that in the Couscous book? If not, can you summarize a recipe? That does sound great.

        I've made a chicken tagine w/ preserved lemons and olives, and love it! I actually have preserved lemons in the house! But tomorrow the kid is away so I was thinking of making lamb (which I don't dare cook while she is home.) So I think I"ll make one of the lamb tagines, just deciding which one to try.

        I'm sorry to say that I won't be the one who makes the warka from scratch. I'm working up the courage to work with phillo dough! I will also confess that I'm planning to use Claudia Roden's couscous recipe...she suggests a technique for adding warm water, and heating the couscous on a tray in the oven, raking with hands, and then heating again. She says even Moroccans make it that way these days!

        Thanks for the input!

        2 Replies
        1. re: sljones

          I'm at home now and can consult my book--the salad recipe is Orange, Lettuce, and Walnut salad.

          Don't worry about working with the phillo dough, it can't be as difficult as making the warka from scratch!

          1. re: Nettie

            So true--I tried just yesterday and it was a complete botch.

        2. SLJONES: I'm really glad you posted this as it made me remember the wonderful chicken with preserved lemons and olives recipes in this book. Somehow, they slipped from my memory. I used to make them for dinner parties quite often.

          1. I'm reviving this thread because I just got this book for christmas. yipee!

            Now that I finally have it I would love to know some of the can't-miss dishes.