Food is the rhythm of a nation.
Last night, I took a trip to Morocco through the thumping pulse of its cuisine. Thump thump...boom...pow!
A nation’s fare often reflects its delicate and tumultuous past. Given its location on the North African coast, Morocco has been molded by the Berber, Spanish, Portuguese, Arab and Mediterranean cultures. Exotic spices have been imported for thousands of years and the land proved worthy of harvesting saffron, mint, olives, oranges and lemons. The rich heritage of Morocco is reflected in every indigenous spice, nut, bean, fruit and grub-worthy carbohydrate. It only makes sense that its cuisine is lusciously spiced and bursting with culture.
Maybe one day I will actually travel to Morocco and experience it firsthand. Until then, I am dancing to the Moroccan beat in my kitchen. The dancing is frightening...the food is delish!
1 lb. turkey breast cutlets
2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
¼ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground cumin
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Parsnip, Cherry, and Walnut Israeli Couscous
2 tbs. butter
2 large parsnips, peeled and diced
Freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon sea salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground coriander
¼ tsp turmeric
½ tsp. ground cumin
2 cups Israeli (pearl) couscous
2 ¼ cups chicken stock
½ cup dried cherries
½ cup roasted walnuts
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Zest of one lemon
In a medium bowl, mix olive oil and spices together until blended. Marinade the turkey cutlets in the mixture while you prepare the couscous.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. On a small baking sheet, spread walnuts in an even layer and roast until fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside.
In a large saucepan with a lid, melt the butter on medium heat. Add the parsnips, spices, salt and pepper and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Turn the heat up to medium high. Add the Israeli couscous, stirring gently and constantly to evenly toast the pearls, about 3 minutes. Cover mixture in chicken stock and bring to a simmer. Once the mixture is at a simmer, add dried cherries, reduce the heat to low and cover until couscous has absorbed all of the liquid, about 7 minutes. Uncover and stir in the toasted walnuts, scallions and lemon zest.
In a grill pan on medium high heat, grill the turkey breast cutlets. The cutlets are thin so they cook quickly, about 2 minutes per side.