Mmmm. Just a moment. Let me savor the memory of these dishes while I look at the pictures.
Okay. First: I have heard that Moroccans like to eat a lot, but I was not prepared for how much food these recipes actually made. The recipes I used noted that they were good to feed 6-8 as part of a meal. For the three people who were eating these dishes, I cut the recipes in half. Still, there was enough food for several meals of leftovers. Second: Moroccans take great pride in their gastronomy, and these recipes show it. The food requires lots of preparation. An example:
Here we have a very typical Moroccan dish: Couscous with 7 Vegetables. The couscous grains were first rinsed and allowed to dry while the grains swelled with moisture. Then, they were steamed over a broth. Then, they were taken out, moistened a bit more, tossed, rolled out, cooled, and dried. Then, they were steamed again. Finally, they were taken out and fluffed one more time before being served. The vegetables stewing underneath were prepared in equally-detailed ways. The spice combination was wonderful. No one flavor overpowered another. The dish had sweet, spicy, and savory elements perfectly blended. It contained carrots, raisins, turnips, tomatoes, zucchini, squash (as a substitute for pumpkin), a pepper, onions, chickpeas, and lots of herbs and spices. Delicious! I rate this one a success.
The next dish was risky. My mother wasn't sure about it when she heard the ingredients. Here is the finished product:
It's called Bisteeya, and it's a layered dish: chicken on the bottom, a creamy, egg-y, parsley-y layer in the middle, and ground almonds with cinnamon and sugar on the top. The whole thing is wrapped in delicate pastry leaves and baked like a pie. This thing took forever. It's definitely a labor of love.
The results were fantastic. Everybody loved it, and I had a friend try some leftovers. He demand more. Success!
Here they are on the table. You may not be able to tell, but the Couscous in the green dish could fill a small bathtub.
On another night, I prepared two more dishes: the harira soup and a chicken dish with olives, lemons, and eggs. Both were terrific, but I didn't get pictures; my batteries had died. Both of these were a hit as well! The chicken dish just smelled so dang good that I wanted to hang it from my rear-view mirror.
The big meal is coming up. Now I have all of the most difficult dishes out of the way. I can't wait to eat the real stuff in the real country with the real people.
By the way, all of my recipes came from Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco by Paula Wolfert.