Couscous Tfaya with Caramelized Onions and Raisins
I have been making a lot of couscous dishes lately, mostly the traditional ones that are served as a main dish, rather than couscous salads I often make. You see, I’m feeling a bit homesick right now, and when that happens I crave authentic dishes more than anything else. I’m counting down the days until my visit and looking forward to (hopefully) good weather and a stay in the Ourika Valley at the foot of the Atlas Mountains possibly here or here.
Tfaya couscous is served with caramelized onions and raisins, and a flavorful, earthy sauce. It has always been one of my favorite ways to eat couscous. I simply love it. I encourage you to make it and take the time to savor spoonful after comforting spoonful.
COUSCOUS TFAYA WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND RAISINS RECIPE
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 50 min
For the chicken
1 pound chicken breast, cut into 4 pieces
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon ras el hanout (I used this one)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
A pinch saffron (optional)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2.5 cups chicken broth
8 sprigs parsley
For the caramelized tfaya
2 large yellow onions, cut into strips
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon orange blossom water (optional)
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup golden raisins
For the couscous
2 cups boiling water
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups instant couscous
In a medium pot over medium-high heat, combine the chicken and onion with oil, ginger, ras el hanout, turmeric, saffron (if using), salt, and pepper. Sauté, turning occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the chicken is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Lower the heat to medium. Add the broth and parsley sprigs and cook, covered, for 45 minutes. Discard the parsley.
Meanwhile, to make the caramelized onions, place the onions, cloves, and cinnamon stick in a large saucepan. Cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat, lower the heat to medium, and continue cooking until the onions are very soft, 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and discard the cinnamon stick and the cloves.
Place the onions back in the saucepan. Add the sugar, ground cinnamon, orange blossom water (if using), butter and 2 tablespoons of chicken sauce. Caramelize over medium-low heat for 20 minutes, stirring frequently in the beginning and constantly toward the end. Add a tablespoon or two of water if necessary. When the mixture is dark brown, add the raisins and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes.
Boil the water with salt and olive oil. In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over couscous. Cover and let stand 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
Arrange the couscous in a large serving dish. Place the chicken in the center and surround it with the caramelized tfaya. Moisten the couscous with a few ladles of the remaining sauce. The couscous, chicken, and tfaya should be served warm.