Moroccan cuisine in Paris

I love authentic Moroccan food. There is no second to its richness, texture, flavors and the awesome verity in Moroccan cuisine makes it a very happy food.  One of my favorite is couscous but not the kind that comes in a box. No! I’m glad my mother doesn’t read my blog, if she knew I used instant couscous in this recipe (quick and easy but delicious), she would never let me in her house again. So lets just keep is between the two of us shall we.

But I’m hungry for the real deal here, the kind of couscous my mom prepares from scratch. The kind of couscous that if you start to cook it early in the morning, you might be able to finish on your child’s graduation day. That’s how long it takes to make it. Is labor of love worth the hassle? let’s think: it’s fluffy, airy, versatile, delicious and takes on any flavors you top it with, simply 100% customizable to your own juice buds. I’d say Yes. Do I make it from scratch? On occasions, depending on my mood. But that’s another post.

moroccan couscous

Paris is loaded with top-notch restaurants, especially middle eastern ones that prepare my kind of couscous. I will not mention what they top the couscous with but it’s…oh, I can’t even describe it. But I’ll tell you anyway, they top it with Chicken Tagine, spicy sausage, tender meat, lamb, or simply cooked vegetables that make this dish blast with flavor. Almost the same as my mom’s.

moroccan chicken with olives

Besides, when you’re in Paris can you go wrong with food? most chances, in my opinion, no.

paris cafeThis is my favorite spot when I visit Paris with my husband, located in Place de la Madeleine . This is the view from our window so it was easy to check when this place opens.

I love to explore goodies in Paris especially Moroccan food but let’s get things straight here – I am not talking about Morocco, a country that got me in every sense of the every way, the core of all everything Moroccan.

But Morocco, in a future post.

Delicious baked puff pastry stuffed with Moroccan couscous

I’ll begin by telling you that this dish is not only quick to make, delicious and crusty and filled with yummy surprises that make you ask for more, but it’s also original, really. I mean, how many people do you know stuff pastry with Moroccan couscous?

But first, let me share something with you before we continue. I just have to let it out. Do you ever get panicked? I mean some things in life can get me panicked like..hmm let me think…….o.k. maybe I don’t get panicked but my blood heats up every now and then, depending on the occasion. Like last Friday night, we had friends over for “see you later alligator” dinner (we are going on vacation and they stay here), and I worked very hard to make a memorable evening (they will watch our house while we’re gone). So we sat down, started with the salads while waited for the appetizer to finish baking (about an hour). I went into the kitchen to check on it…are you ready for this? when I opened the oven door all I saw was…nothing. nada. zip. not a thing baking, no smell. What??!!

I, a person who dislikes “lateness” in any form, shape and color no matter what the excuse is, forgot to put the food in the oven. It never happened before. Top that with very hungry crowd and you could hear the bubbles in my blood start boiling. Panicked? Naaah.

playing a guitarMy daughter entertained our very patient guests.

But accidents sometimes turn into a major success. Yes they had to wait longer. Yes, they laughed at the situation (or maybe at me). And yes, they raved about the first course that disappeared in 30 seconds flat. Yes, they asked for more. And yes, they even went home with appetizer goody bag. Yes. Yes. Yes.

Moroccan couscous stuffed in puff pastryThe winner.

So go ahead, forget but don’t panic (unless you insist). Keep your cool, laugh at yourself and share your late arrivals no matter what. You’ll be glad you did.

So, shall we:

ingredients:
1 pkg frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 pkg plain instant couscous (10 oz)
1/2 cup dry cranberries
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds (unsalted)
1/2 cup chopped whole nuts
handful chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp red hot paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
optional: 1/4 pound ground turkey or chicken breast (cooked)
1 orange zest
1 egg (mix for egg wash)
3 tbsp roasted sesame seeds

preparations:

Preheat oven to 400º. In a bowl filled with boiled water soak raisins and cranberries for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside. Prepare instant couscous following instructions on the box (eliminating the salt).

In a large bowl combine prepared couscous, dried fruit, nuts, orange zest, spices and cooked turkey or chicken (if desired. I added cooked and seasoned turkey breast). Mix all ingredients until well combined. Season with kosher salt and black pepper.

Moroccan couscousOn a clean lightly floured surface roll out pastry dough into square shape about 1/4 thick and cut into squares, depending the size of your sheet (mine was about 5″x5″ each). You can cut into 9 equal squares if you prefer smaller ones. Place a heaping tablespoon of the couscous mix in the center of each square.

puff pastry stuffed with moroccan couscous

Take one corner of a stuffed square and fold it over to the opposite corner and pinch/seal edges with the tines of a fork.

puff pastry stuffed with moroccan couscous

Place stuffed pastry on a parchment paper keeping space between them for expansion, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake between 30-40 minutes or until deep golden color is achieved.

Serve warm with fresh salad(s) as an appetizer (like I did) or, if you didn’t use meat have it for breakfast with hard boiled eggs on the side and fresh sliced tomatoes – you have no idea how delicious this it! until you try it.

Reheating it in the microwave is a no-no.

Any other “stuffy” suggestion for puff pastry?

I’m all ears.