November 8, 2011

Moroccan Spiced Turkey with Parsnip, Cherry, and Walnut Israeli Couscous

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!

Moroccan Spiced Turkey Breast Cutlets 
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.   


  1. I love the accompaniment here! Israeli couscous is wonderful. And the Moroccan flavors...yum! We are actually going to Marrakesh next weekend - can't wait to eat there!

  2. That couscous is calling my name!

  3. What a wonderful dish with fantastic exotic flavors!! I love Moroccan food and this dish is done perfectly. Lovely pictures too. :)

  4. I adore Israeli couscous...and the combination of both your recipes looks outstanding. Wish that last photo could make its way to my dinner table :)

  5. I heart Moroccan food, though it seems I get stuck in a tagine (lamb or chicken) rut - if there is such a thing. This is a great way to mix it up, love all of the flavors here!

  6. I am digging all the spiced in this! And parsnips - I never think to use them. Bet this would be awesome with cranberries and pistachios too... mmmm...

  7. This recipe is the reason why I have so many spices. Couscous is something I could eat every day just plain.. I guess that means that your Israeli couscous is something I would gladly eat twice a day.
    Also I like all the flavor you put on the turkey. Love this dinner escape to morocco!

  8. I did a Moroccan-spiced main dish earlier this week--between your dish and mine, it would be a perfect meal!

  9. This dish looks fabulous! I love Israeli couscous. Def need to try!

  10. I love Israeli cous of my favorites! What a delightful meal!

  11. Rockin recipe! This is amazing and I love it.

  12. Love this couscous, like a bowl of pearls. Gorgeous!

  13. Delightful! I love Moroccan spices! The couscous sounds wonderful. I have never used parsnips and cherries together but it sounds so great with the couscous-- I am going to try this! BTW, my friends just honey-mooned in Morocco- the pictures look incredible! I want to go!


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